Glossary of Radio Astronomy Terms

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Kelvins (Kelvin):

A scale that measures an object’s temperature over absolute zero, which is the lower limit of thermodynamic temperature. A particle at this temperature would experience almost no motion whatsoever, only experiencing motion due to quantum effects.


A unit of measurement that looks at the distance between earth and objects outside of our solar system. One kiloparsec equals a distance of 1000 parsecs (3260 light-years about 19.56 quadrillion miles).

Kuiper belt:

A region of our solar system beyond the orbit of Neptune. It contains many comets, asteroids, and other icy bodies. Pluto is often considered a large resident of this region. Other star systems likely sport similar regions.

Kuiper belt

Keplerian rotation:

The orderly motion of objects around a central mass, like planets and asteroids in our solar system. The speed — or orbital periods — of these objects is determined by their distance from the central mass (or Sun in the case of our solar system). The closer in the object the faster it orbits.

Keplerian rotation