Let’s face it, if she can understand it, we all can…
“Hello, lovely pugsters. Lieutenant Lola here. Major Ron has kindly asked me to explain to you what all these spiffing space words mean. Today we will start with the letter ‘A’ because I was told that’s where the alphabet begins and that it would be a sensible place to start.
“I won’t do all of the A’s because I’ve got to get in the online queue for Taylor Swift tickets and quite frankly my head falls off if I have to concentrate on space stuff for too long. She’s playing the local pub in the village where we live when we’re on earth, The Red Lion in Lindfield.
It’s odd really because it isn’t particularly red coloured and it hasn’t got any lions living there but that’s earth for you, always showing off and pretending it’s better than it is. Anyway, back to my Lego House of Space Jargon… here goes… ‘A’…”
“This might sound like it’s something nice and chocolaty you find in your Christmas stocking that’s started melting because Major Ron, I mean Santa left it too close to the radiator, but it isn’t. It’s a galaxy emitting intensely at optical and/or radio and/or X-ray wavelengths from a small central core. Examples are Seyfert galaxies, EL Lac objects, and quasars. Most explanations of active galaxies involve material falling into a gigantic black hole at their centres. Here’s a pic of a Seyfert Galaxy.”
“We’ve got an Asteroids games consul on the USS Weiner. Me and Taser shoot lasers at space rocks and see who can get the most. So, yes, asteroids are rocks floating around in space. Some are the size of Taser’s space Uber but others can be hundreds of miles across.
“Recently – the Major informs me – some earth space people at NASA (Nasty Alien Sausage Abductors we call them!) sent a big dart up into space to try and have a crash with a big asteroid which might be heading for the McDonalds just on the outskirts of Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds in England. Some people in white coats with long beards and glasses think that, a long time ago, it might have been a very big asteroid that crashed into earth and made a lot of earth things at the time, like dinasours, get ill and go to the big Friskies yard in the sky. So let’s hope the DART hits the target…”
Sometimes when we’re going really high into space and Major Ron is getting cross with me for not properly closing the ‘we’re all doomed if you don’t close this hatch properly’ hatch, I turn around to him and say: “We’ll, if that’s your altitude!” And me and Taser fall about laughing. But seriously, altitude is the angular distance of an object above (or below) the horizon. It forms a positional coordinate system for objects in the sky along with azimuth. See, I told you I wasn’t as daft as I look. Or sound…
This is what I said to the shop keep at the Pugs R Us superstore on the outskirts of Cuckfield village when they tried to charge me £4.50 for a small bag of mini-Friskies. “That, my dear shop keep,” I said, “is an astronomical unit price for such a meagre bag of Friskies.”
Then I demanded he fetch me the manager and while he was gone I ate all the Friskies and legged it. Astronomical Unit can also be used to describe a unit of distance equal to the mean distance between the Earth and the Sun. 1AU = 1.496 x 1011m. A-type star A star with a temperature in the region 8000 to 10000K.