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4th Grade Sun, Moon, and Earth Vocabulary List
Critically Important – State Assessable
The third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest planet in the solar system. It
is the only planet definitely known to support life.
The extremely hot gaseous star at the center of the Solar System which is the
source of heat and light to the Earth. The planets and comets of the Solar
System are held in orbit around the Sun due to the pull of the Sun's gravity.
Objects that stay in orbit around planets.
A hot ball of glowing gases that shines by its own light, and is visible at night.
Earth's nearest star is the Sun.
Reflect To return heat, light, or an image off an object.
The curved, slightly oval path that objects in space follow when they are in the
gravity of another body. The Moon and artificial satellites orbit the Earth, the
Earth orbits our Sun and so on.
A day is the time needed for the Earth to make one complete turn on its axis.
This takes 24 hours to complete. For example, Mexico will return to the same
spot facing the Sun 24 hours after the Earth starts its turn each day.
When the Sun is down (absent from the visible sky). The half of the Earth that is
currently facing away from the Sun is experiencing night.
Revolving or recurring after a set amount of time. The seasons form a cyclical
pattern. Spring always comes after Winter, and we only get one Spring each
Seasons One of the four periods of the year (spring, summer, autumn, and winter),
beginning at an equinox or solstice.
The time it takes for a planet to move around, or orbit, a sun. It takes Earth
about 365 days to orbit the Sun.
Capable Able
In astronomy, when a planet spins once on its axis, it has made one
Produce light To be able to make a type of energy that travels through space at high
speed in waves, and can be seen by the human eye.
In astronomy when a planet has made one orbit around its sun, it has
completed one revolution. The time this takes is called a year for that
planet. It is 365 days for Earth.
Earth’s axis
The Earth's axis is a line that passes though the Earth's center and
through both Poles (North and South). The Earth rotates completely
around this axis once each day.
Visible shape The overall outline of a figure or object that can be seen.
Ability to support life
Supplies the basic needs of living organisms.
Breathable atmosphere
The mixture of gases that surround a planet. To be
breathable it must be composed primarily of nitrogen (78%),
oxygen (21%) and other gases (1%).
Phases of the moon
The measure of how much of the illuminated surface of the
Moon can be seen from Earth. The phases are: First quarter,
waxing crescent, new Moon, waning crescent, last quarter,
waning gibbous, full Moon, waxing gibbous.
Natural satellite
An object that occurs or exists that is not made by people
that orbits around another object.
Relative distance
How far apart two objects are in comparison to other objects.
Predictable cycle
Events or motions that recur during a set amount of time.
Apparent movement
The act, process, or result of moving that we can see or detect.
Instructionally Useful
A large body of rock or gas that travels in orbit around the Sun.
To examine in order to discover likenesses or differences.
To examine in order to discover likenesses or differences.
Solar system The Sun and all the objects rotating around it that are affected by gravity.
Sun’s position
Location of the sun in relation to other objects in our Solar System.
(At the center of the Solar System)
Close but not exact
Seasonal change
Moving to a different one of the four periods of the year (spring,
summer, autumn, and winter), caused by the change in the
intensity of solar radiation received by different parts of Earth.
Relative position
Placement of objects in relationship to other objects
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