antenna: (plural: antennae or antennas) In biology: Either of a pair of long, thin sensory appendages on the heads of insects, crustaceans and some other arthropods. (in physics) Devices for picking up (receiving) electromagnetic energy.

array: A broad and organized group of objects. Sometimes they are instruments placed in a systematic fashion to collect information in a coordinated way. Other times, an array can refer to things that are laid out or displayed in a way that can make a broad range of related things, such as colors, visible at once. The term can even apply to a range of options or choices.

atmosphere: The envelope of gases surrounding Earth, another planet or a moon.

coil: Concentric rings or spirals formed by winding wire or some other fiber around and around a core; or the shape that such a wire would make.

decay: The process (also called “rotting”) by which a dead plant or animal gradually breaks down as it is consumed by bacteria and other microbes. (for radioactive materials) The process whereby a radioactive isotope — which means a physically unstable form of some element — or particle sheds energy and subatomic particles.

electronics: Devices that are powered by electricity but whose properties are controlled by the semiconductors or other circuitry that channel or gate the movement of electric charges.

field: An area of study, as in: Her field of research is biology. Also a term to describe a real-world environment in which some research is conducted, such as at sea, in a forest, on a mountaintop or on a city street. It is the opposite of an artificial setting, such as a research laboratory. (in physics) A region in space where certain physical effects operate, such as magnetism (created by a magnetic field), gravity (by a gravitational field), mass (by a Higgs field) or electricity (by an electrical field).

forest: An area of land covered mostly with trees and other woody plants.

frequency: The number of times some periodic phenomenon occurs within a specified time interval. (In physics) The number of wavelengths that occurs over a particular interval of time.

mass: A number that shows how much an object resists speeding up and slowing down — basically a measure of how much matter that object is made from.

matter: Something that occupies space and has mass. Anything on Earth with matter will have a property described as “weight.”

neutrino: A subatomic particle with a mass close to zero. Neutrinos rarely react with normal matter. Three kinds of neutrinos are known.

observatory: (in astronomy) The building or structure (such as a satellite) that houses one or more telescopes. Or it can be a system of structures that make up a telescope complex.

particle: A minute amount of something.

physicist: A scientist who studies the nature and properties of matter and energy.

polarization: (in physics) The condition — or creation of a condition — in which rays of wavelengths of light exhibit different properties when viewed from different directions.

radio waves: Waves in a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They are a type that people now use for long-distance communication. Longer than the waves of visible light, radio waves are used to transmit radio and television signals. They also are used in radar.

range: The full extent or distribution of something. For instance, a plant or animal’s range is the area over which it naturally exists. (in math or for measurements) The extent to which values can vary (such as the highest to lowest temperatures). Also, the distance within which something can be reached or perceived.

sea: An ocean (or region that is part of an ocean). Unlike lakes and streams, seawater — or ocean water — is salty.

subatomic: Anything smaller than an atom, which is the smallest bit of matter that has all the properties of whatever chemical element it is (like hydrogen, iron or calcium).

telescope: Usually a light-collecting instrument that makes distant objects appear nearer through the use of lenses or a combination of curved mirrors and lenses. Some, however, collect radio emissions (energy from a different portion of the electromagnetic spectrum) through a network of antennas.

wave: A disturbance or variation that travels through space and matter in a regular, oscillating fashion.


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