A B C D E F G H I-L M N O P Q R S T U-W X-Z
IAU: International Astronomical Union; in 2006 it declassified Pluto as a planet, naming it a dwarf planet with Ceres, Eris, Haumea and Makemake. Except for the asteroid Ceres, the five dwarf planets named above are also known as “plutoids.”
I.C.: “imum coeli” or “lowest heaven”; the fourth house cusp or nadir. The most intimate and personal point in a chart, it symbolizes one’s innermost feelings, roots, and internal sense of self.
inconjunct: originally applied to both the semisextile (30°) and the quincunx (150°) by Ptolemy and other Greeks, it now only refers to the quincunx.
inferior planet: Mercury and Venus, because they are closer to the Sun than the Earth is.
inharmonious(ly): an aspect or sign detracting from or blocking the energy of the planet in question.
inner planet: Mercury, Venus and Mars.
intercepted: a sign falling entirely within a house and not on a cusp; the sign’s ruler doesn’t rule a house.
interferometry: the technique of diagnosing the properties of two or more (light) waves by studying their interference pattern. By using a pair of (or more) telescopes, the interference of their incoming signals can greatly enhance the resolution of the image a single telescope (see “resolution”).
interstellar: the space between the stars. The expanding solar wind from our Sun eventually runs into the solar winds of other stars at a boundary marking the end of the Sun’s influence (and separating our solar system from interstellar space) known as the “heliopause.” Thought to be about 10 billion miles (three time Pluto’s distance) from the Sun, the heliopause may soon be reached by the Voyagers 1 and 2 launched back in 1977. The Oort cloud may also mark the end of our solar system and the beginning of interstellar space.
interstellar medium (ISM): the gas and dust between stars within a galaxy, blending imperceptibly into intergalactic space. It consists of an extremely tenuous mixture of ions, atoms, molecules and dust grains—99% gas and 1% dust. In our Milky Way densities range from a few thousand to a few hundred million particles/m3, the average being about one million particles/m3 or 1 particle/cm3. This compares with 2.43x1025 molecules/m3 in Earth’s atmosphere at sea level: 24 million trillion times as many particles! The densest regions of the ISM, molecular clouds, are stellar nurseries (see pages 216-217). Stars replenish the ISM throughout their lives and, if novae, at their deaths.
John the Baptist (c. 6 BC-c. 36 AD): an itinerant preacher, major Christian figure and prophet who baptized thousands including Jesus at the Jordan River. He anticipated a messiah greater than himself. In Matthew 17:10-13 Jesus tells his disciples that John is Elijah reincarnated (see page 17).
Josephus, Titus Flavius (37-100 AD): Jewish-Roman historian who recorded some of the earliest history of Jesus outside the gospels, the First Jewish Roman War that destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, and that reincarnation was widely taught in his day.
Judgment of Paris: Zeus held a banquet at the wedding of Achilles’ parents Thetis and Peleus to which all the gods were invited except Eris/Discord. Angry, Eris threw an apple among the guests labeled “To the Fairest.” Hera, Athena and Aphrodite all claimed the apple, and Zeus wisely chose Paris, prince of Troy, to mediate. Hera offered him Asia and Europe, Athena wisdom and skill in war, but Paris chose Aphrodite who merely offered him the most beautiful woman on Earth, Helen of Sparta, wife of Menelaus, brother to Agamemnon commander of the Greeks. The rest is history.
KBO: initialism for Kuiper Belt object; thus, an object residing in the Kuiper Belt. There are 70,000 KBOs over 100 km. in diameter. KBOs differ from TNOs (pages 206-209) in that the Kuiper Belt extends from about the orbit of Neptune (30 AU) to about 55 AU from the Sun, whereas TNOs include scattered disc objects and Oort cloud members out to about 1 light year (50,000 AU) from the Sun, or ¼ the distance to the nearest star Proxima Centauri.
Kelvin: the absolute scale of temperature, which begins at the point at which there is no atomic or molecular motion known as “absolute zero.” This is 459° below 0 on the Fahrenheit scale, and is the definition of 0° on the Kelvin scale. See “plasma” for an explanation of temperature, absolute zero, and the four states of matter.
Kirkwood gaps: dips or gaps in asteroid distribution where orbital periods are simple fractions of Jupiter’s orbital period (orbital resonance). They occur at 2.06 AU (4:1 resonance w/Jupiter), 2.5 AU (3:1), 2.82 AU (5:2), 2.95 AU (7:3), and 3.27 AU (2:1). Forces on bodies in these regions are too strong and chaotic for them to maintain stable orbits there.
kite: a grand trine with one opposition, thus a 4-planet sixth harmonic syndrome. A kite is more dynamic than a grand trine without an opposition, for it has the extra energy to break out of rigid habit patterns and to keep them from forming as well.
Kuiper Belt: a disk-shaped region of many small icy bodies extending from just beyond Neptune’s orbit (30 AU) to about twice as far from the Sun (55 AU). It’s estimated to contain over 70,000 objects greater than 60 miles in diameter (several 100 times the number in the asteroid belt) and as many as 100 million comets 12 or so miles across. Pluto is a Kuiper belt object (KBO) and not a true planet because there are many similarly sized objects in its general region (see pages 206-209).
lights, the: the Sun and the Moon.
Lagrangian points: five points in an orbital configuration where a smaller body can remain in a stable position relative to two larger bodies, or in the same orbit as another satellite. Known as L1-L5, L4 and L5 on page 145 (where Jupiter and the Sun’s gravity balance each other) are occupied by the Trojan and Hilda asteroids.
Library of Alexandria: The largest, most significant library of the ancient world, organized by a student of Aristotle it flourished under the Ptolemaic dynasty from c. 300 BC-48 BC when it was accidentally burned by Julius Caesar at war with Egypt.
light year: the distance light travels in one year; at 186,282 miles/second in a vacuum, this is 5.88 trillion miles. A light year is a unit of distance, not of time. The nearest star (Proxima Centauri in the constellation Centaurus) is 4.22 light years away, and our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral of 200 billion stars that is 100,000 light years in diameter and 10,000 light years thick. The nearest galaxy, the Andromeda, is 2.3 million light years away, the Sombrero galaxy on the books cover is 50 million light years away, and the entire Universe is now thought to be 27.4 billion light years across. An associated astronomical unit of distance is the parsec (short for “parallax of one arc second”; see “parallax” on pages 34 and 289), the distance to an object that subtends one arc second by the radius of the Earth’s orbit. A parsec equals 3.26 light years, or 19.17 trillion miles.
line of apsides: the major (or long) axis of an elliptical orbit; an apsis is that point in the orbit of a planet or moon nearest to (lower apsis) or farthest from (higher apsis) the center of attraction.Lord of the chart: the ruler of the ascendant sign.
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