1.
Charles T. Kowal
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Charles Thomas Kowal was an American astronomer known for his observations and discoveries in the Solar System. He was awarded the James Craig Watson Medal for his contributions to astronomy in 1979, in the 1960s, Kowal observed with the Palomar 48 Schmidt telescope, contributing observations to noted cosmologist Fritz Zwickys six-volume Catalogue of Galaxies and of Clusters of Galaxies. In the course of these Palomar supernovae surveys with the 48 Schmidt, Kowal personally discovered 81 supernovae, although primarily employed by the supernova survey to observe on the 48 Schmidt, Kowal provided crucial observations of particularly faint asteroids for the PCAS program with the larger telescope. PCAS later moved to the 48 Schmidt, and ran in total for nearly 25 years, Kowal provided observations of new Solar System discoveries and reports of new supernovae via the IAU circular system throughout the 1970s, and searched for new objects. He discovered two moons of Jupiter, Leda in 1974 and Themisto in 1975, the 13th and 14th moons of Jupiter to be found, Themisto was later lost and was not rediscovered until 2000. Between December 1976 and February 1985, Kowal searched 6400 square degrees of sky in the plane for distant. Only one object was found beyond Jupiter,2060 Chiron, discovered in 1977 and it became recognised as the first object in the centaur class after a second one was discovered 15 years later. Centaurs are objects with unstable orbits which orbit between Jupiter and Neptune and they are probably drawn in from the Kuiper belt by alignments with larger planets. Chiron remains one of the largest such worlds known, and one of a handful that have a comet-like coma, Kowal also discovered or co-discovered the periodic comets 99P/Kowal, 104P/Kowal, 134P/Kowal-Vavrova, 143P/Kowal-Mrkos, and 158P/Kowal-LINEAR. Kowal moved to the new Space Telescope Science Institute in 1985 and his book Asteroids, Their Nature and Utilization was published in 1988, and a second edition in 1996. Kowal died on November 28,2011 at the age of 71, Kowal was awarded the National Academy of Sciences James Craig Watson Medal for his noteworthy astronomical discoveries, particularly of Chiron, Leda, and numerous supernovae in 1979. The crater Kowal on Pluto was named in his honor

2.
Apsis
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An apsis is an extreme point in an objects orbit. The word comes via Latin from Greek and is cognate with apse, for elliptic orbits about a larger body, there are two apsides, named with the prefixes peri- and ap-, or apo- added to a reference to the thing being orbited. For a body orbiting the Sun, the point of least distance is the perihelion, the terms become periastron and apastron when discussing orbits around other stars. For any satellite of Earth including the Moon the point of least distance is the perigee, for objects in Lunar orbit, the point of least distance is the pericynthion and the greatest distance the apocynthion. For any orbits around a center of mass, there are the terms pericenter and apocenter, periapsis and apoapsis are equivalent alternatives. A straight line connecting the pericenter and apocenter is the line of apsides and this is the major axis of the ellipse, its greatest diameter. For a two-body system the center of mass of the lies on this line at one of the two foci of the ellipse. When one body is larger than the other it may be taken to be at this focus. Historically, in systems, apsides were measured from the center of the Earth. In orbital mechanics, the apsis technically refers to the distance measured between the centers of mass of the central and orbiting body. However, in the case of spacecraft, the family of terms are used to refer to the orbital altitude of the spacecraft from the surface of the central body. The arithmetic mean of the two limiting distances is the length of the axis a. The geometric mean of the two distances is the length of the semi-minor axis b, the geometric mean of the two limiting speeds is −2 ε = μ a which is the speed of a body in a circular orbit whose radius is a. The words pericenter and apocenter are often seen, although periapsis/apoapsis are preferred in technical usage, various related terms are used for other celestial objects. The -gee, -helion and -astron and -galacticon forms are used in the astronomical literature when referring to the Earth, Sun, stars. The suffix -jove is occasionally used for Jupiter, while -saturnium has very rarely used in the last 50 years for Saturn. The -gee form is used as a generic closest approach to planet term instead of specifically applying to the Earth. During the Apollo program, the terms pericynthion and apocynthion were used when referring to the Moon, regarding black holes, the term peri/apomelasma was used by physicist Geoffrey A. Landis in 1998 before peri/aponigricon appeared in the scientific literature in 2002

3.
Astronomical unit
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The astronomical unit is a unit of length, roughly the distance from Earth to the Sun. However, that varies as Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum to a minimum. Originally conceived as the average of Earths aphelion and perihelion, it is now defined as exactly 149597870700 metres, the astronomical unit is used primarily as a convenient yardstick for measuring distances within the Solar System or around other stars. However, it is also a component in the definition of another unit of astronomical length. A variety of symbols and abbreviations have been in use for the astronomical unit. In a 1976 resolution, the International Astronomical Union used the symbol A for the astronomical unit, in 2006, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures recommended ua as the symbol for the unit. In 2012, the IAU, noting that various symbols are presently in use for the astronomical unit, in the 2014 revision of the SI Brochure, the BIPM used the unit symbol au. In ISO 80000-3, the symbol of the unit is ua. Earths orbit around the Sun is an ellipse, the semi-major axis of this ellipse is defined to be half of the straight line segment that joins the aphelion and perihelion. The centre of the sun lies on this line segment. In addition, it mapped out exactly the largest straight-line distance that Earth traverses over the course of a year, knowing Earths shift and a stars shift enabled the stars distance to be calculated. But all measurements are subject to some degree of error or uncertainty, improvements in precision have always been a key to improving astronomical understanding. Improving measurements were continually checked and cross-checked by means of our understanding of the laws of celestial mechanics, the expected positions and distances of objects at an established time are calculated from these laws, and assembled into a collection of data called an ephemeris. NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory provides one of several ephemeris computation services, in 1976, in order to establish a yet more precise measure for the astronomical unit, the IAU formally adopted a new definition. Equivalently, by definition, one AU is the radius of an unperturbed circular Newtonian orbit about the sun of a particle having infinitesimal mass. As with all measurements, these rely on measuring the time taken for photons to be reflected from an object. However, for precision the calculations require adjustment for such as the motions of the probe. In addition, the measurement of the time itself must be translated to a scale that accounts for relativistic time dilation

4.
Semi-major and semi-minor axes
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In geometry, the major axis of an ellipse is its longest diameter, a line segment that runs through the center and both foci, with ends at the widest points of the perimeter. The semi-major axis is one half of the axis, and thus runs from the centre, through a focus. Essentially, it is the radius of an orbit at the two most distant points. For the special case of a circle, the axis is the radius. One can think of the axis as an ellipses long radius. The semi-major axis of a hyperbola is, depending on the convention, thus it is the distance from the center to either vertex of the hyperbola. A parabola can be obtained as the limit of a sequence of ellipses where one focus is fixed as the other is allowed to move arbitrarily far away in one direction. Thus a and b tend to infinity, a faster than b, the semi-minor axis is a line segment associated with most conic sections that is at right angles with the semi-major axis and has one end at the center of the conic section. It is one of the axes of symmetry for the curve, in an ellipse, the one, in a hyperbola. The semi-major axis is the value of the maximum and minimum distances r max and r min of the ellipse from a focus — that is. In astronomy these extreme points are called apsis, the semi-minor axis of an ellipse is the geometric mean of these distances, b = r max r min. The eccentricity of an ellipse is defined as e =1 − b 2 a 2 so r min = a, r max = a. Now consider the equation in polar coordinates, with one focus at the origin, the mean value of r = ℓ / and r = ℓ /, for θ = π and θ =0 is a = ℓ1 − e 2. In an ellipse, the axis is the geometric mean of the distance from the center to either focus. The semi-minor axis of an ellipse runs from the center of the ellipse to the edge of the ellipse, the semi-minor axis is half of the minor axis. The minor axis is the longest line segment perpendicular to the axis that connects two points on the ellipses edge. The semi-minor axis b is related to the axis a through the eccentricity e. A parabola can be obtained as the limit of a sequence of ellipses where one focus is fixed as the other is allowed to move arbitrarily far away in one direction

5.
Orbital eccentricity
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The orbital eccentricity of an astronomical object is a parameter that determines the amount by which its orbit around another body deviates from a perfect circle. A value of 0 is an orbit, values between 0 and 1 form an elliptical orbit,1 is a parabolic escape orbit. The term derives its name from the parameters of conic sections and it is normally used for the isolated two-body problem, but extensions exist for objects following a rosette orbit through the galaxy. In a two-body problem with inverse-square-law force, every orbit is a Kepler orbit, the eccentricity of this Kepler orbit is a non-negative number that defines its shape. The limit case between an ellipse and a hyperbola, when e equals 1, is parabola, radial trajectories are classified as elliptic, parabolic, or hyperbolic based on the energy of the orbit, not the eccentricity. Radial orbits have zero angular momentum and hence eccentricity equal to one, keeping the energy constant and reducing the angular momentum, elliptic, parabolic, and hyperbolic orbits each tend to the corresponding type of radial trajectory while e tends to 1. For a repulsive force only the trajectory, including the radial version, is applicable. For elliptical orbits, a simple proof shows that arcsin yields the projection angle of a circle to an ellipse of eccentricity e. For example, to view the eccentricity of the planet Mercury, next, tilt any circular object by that angle and the apparent ellipse projected to your eye will be of that same eccentricity. From Medieval Latin eccentricus, derived from Greek ἔκκεντρος ekkentros out of the center, from ἐκ- ek-, eccentric first appeared in English in 1551, with the definition a circle in which the earth, sun. Five years later, in 1556, a form of the word was added. The eccentricity of an orbit can be calculated from the state vectors as the magnitude of the eccentricity vector, e = | e | where. For elliptical orbits it can also be calculated from the periapsis and apoapsis since rp = a and ra = a, where a is the semimajor axis. E = r a − r p r a + r p =1 −2 r a r p +1 where, rp is the radius at periapsis. For Earths annual orbit path, ra/rp ratio = longest_radius / shortest_radius ≈1.034 relative to center point of path, the eccentricity of the Earths orbit is currently about 0.0167, the Earths orbit is nearly circular. Venus and Neptune have even lower eccentricity, over hundreds of thousands of years, the eccentricity of the Earths orbit varies from nearly 0.0034 to almost 0.058 as a result of gravitational attractions among the planets. The table lists the values for all planets and dwarf planets, Mercury has the greatest orbital eccentricity of any planet in the Solar System. Such eccentricity is sufficient for Mercury to receive twice as much solar irradiation at perihelion compared to aphelion, before its demotion from planet status in 2006, Pluto was considered to be the planet with the most eccentric orbit

6.
Orbital inclination
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Orbital inclination measures the tilt of an objects orbit around a celestial body. It is expressed as the angle between a plane and the orbital plane or axis of direction of the orbiting object. For a satellite orbiting the Earth directly above the equator, the plane of the orbit is the same as the Earths equatorial plane. The general case is that the orbit is tilted, it spends half an orbit over the northern hemisphere. If the orbit swung between 20° north latitude and 20° south latitude, then its orbital inclination would be 20°, the inclination is one of the six orbital elements describing the shape and orientation of a celestial orbit. It is the angle between the plane and the plane of reference, normally stated in degrees. For a satellite orbiting a planet, the plane of reference is usually the plane containing the planets equator, for planets in the Solar System, the plane of reference is usually the ecliptic, the plane in which the Earth orbits the Sun. This reference plane is most practical for Earth-based observers, therefore, Earths inclination is, by definition, zero. Inclination could instead be measured with respect to another plane, such as the Suns equator or the invariable plane, the inclination of orbits of natural or artificial satellites is measured relative to the equatorial plane of the body they orbit, if they orbit sufficiently closely. The equatorial plane is the perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the central body. An inclination of 30° could also be described using an angle of 150°, the convention is that the normal orbit is prograde, an orbit in the same direction as the planet rotates. Inclinations greater than 90° describe retrograde orbits, thus, An inclination of 0° means the orbiting body has a prograde orbit in the planets equatorial plane. An inclination greater than 0° and less than 90° also describe prograde orbits, an inclination of 63. 4° is often called a critical inclination, when describing artificial satellites orbiting the Earth, because they have zero apogee drift. An inclination of exactly 90° is an orbit, in which the spacecraft passes over the north and south poles of the planet. An inclination greater than 90° and less than 180° is a retrograde orbit, an inclination of exactly 180° is a retrograde equatorial orbit. For gas giants, the orbits of moons tend to be aligned with the giant planets equator, the inclination of exoplanets or members of multiple stars is the angle of the plane of the orbit relative to the plane perpendicular to the line-of-sight from Earth to the object. An inclination of 0° is an orbit, meaning the plane of its orbit is parallel to the sky. An inclination of 90° is an orbit, meaning the plane of its orbit is perpendicular to the sky

7.
Minimum orbit intersection distance
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Minimum orbit intersection distance is a measure used in astronomy to assess potential close approaches and collision risks between astronomical objects. It is defined as the distance between the closest points of the orbits of two bodies. Of greatest interest is the risk of a collision with Earth, Earth MOID is often listed on comet and asteroid databases such as the JPL Small-Body Database. MOID values are defined with respect to other bodies as well, Jupiter MOID, Venus MOID. An object is classified as a hazardous object – that is, posing a possible risk to Earth – if, among other conditions. A low MOID does not mean that a collision is inevitable as the planets frequently perturb the orbit of small bodies. It is also necessary that the two bodies reach that point in their orbits at the time before the smaller body is perturbed into a different orbit with a different MOID value. Two Objects gravitationally locked in orbital resonance may never approach one another, numerical integrations become increasingly divergent as trajectories are projected further forward in time, especially beyond times where the smaller body is repeatedly perturbed by other planets. MOID has the convenience that it is obtained directly from the elements of the body. The only object that has ever been rated at 4 on the Torino Scale and this is not the smallest Earth MOID in the catalogues, many bodies with a small Earth MOID are not classed as PHOs because the objects are less than roughly 140 meters in diameter. Earth MOID values are more practical for asteroids less than 140 meters in diameter as those asteroids are very dim. It is even smaller at the more precise JPL Small Body Database