An Etymological Dictionary of Astronomy and Astrophysics

فرهنگ ریشه شناختی اخترشناسی-اخترفیزیک

M. Heydari-Malayeri    -    Paris Observatory



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Number of Results: 731
Mesarthim (γ Arietis)

Fr.: Mésarthim   

A star of visual magnitude 4.8 lying 204 light-years away in the constellation → Aries. It is in fact a triple star system.

The origin of Mesarthim (or Mesartim) is a matter of controversy. Some scholars have related it to the Ar. methartim (مثرطم) "very fat (animal)," but the connection is not obvious although the words are apparently similar. The original Ar. name was Šaratayn (الشرطین) "the two marks" denoting the current β and γ stars in Aries. It was also the name of the lunar mansion of which these two stars were members. Johann Bayer (1572-1625) erroneously related Šaratayn to the Hebrew Sartai, a current term in the astrological literature of his time. Subsequently, others figured that Sartai was related to Hebrew Mesartim "servants." The Latin transliteration and alteration Mesarthim found much success in establishing itself as the proper name for star γ Arietis.


Fr.: maille, maillage   

1) One of the open spaces between the cords or ropes of a net.
2) Any knit, woven, or knotted fabric of open texture.
3) An interwoven or intertwined structure; network.
4) Electricity: A set of branches that forms a closed path in a network so that removal of a branch results in an open path. (

M.E. mesche "open space in a net," apparently from O.E. max "net," earlier mæscre (cf. Dan. maske, Sw. maska, M.Du. maessce, Du. maas "mesh," O.H.G. masca, Ger. Masche "mesh").

Bâncé "aperture, opening, window" in (Kermânšâhi) Kurd., ultimately from Proto-Ir. *banaka-, from *baH- "to shine," cf. Av. bāmya- "light, bright;" Pers. bâm "morning, dawn; splendor, light," Ossetic bon "day," probably related to bezel "opening, aperture," in several dialects of the Fârs province (Lâr, Gerâš, Xonj, Fišvar), → morning.


Fr.: meso-   

A combining form meaning "middle," used in the formation of compound words; e.g. → meson; → mesosphere.

From Gk. mesos "middle, in the middle;" akin to L. medius, Pers. miyân, → middle; → medium.

Meso-, loan from Gk.


Fr.: méson   

A nuclear particle with a mass intermediate between that of a proton and an electron, which is believed to be responsible for the strong nuclear force. In contrast to the case of baryons or leptons, meson number is not conserved: like photons, mesons can be created or destroyed in arbitrary numbers. Their charge can be positive, negative, or zero.

From mes-, meso-, from Gk. mesos "middle," akin to L. medius, Pers. miyân, → medium, → middle, + -on a suffix used in the names of subatomic particles.


Fr.: mesosidérite   

A class of → meteorites that is → brecciatedstony-iron with nearly equal amounts of → metal and → silicates.

meso-; → siderite.


Fr.: mésosphère   

The layer of the atmosphere located between the → stratosphere and the → ionosphere, where temperature drops rapidly with increasing height. It extends between 17 to 80 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

meso-; → sphere.

payâm (#)

Fr.: message   

1) General: A piece of information (written, spoken, or by signals).
2) Computer science: A defined amount of information, coded or not, between machines or machines and men. → information theory.

M.E., from O.Fr. message "message, news, embassy," from M.L. missaticum, from L. missus "a sending away, dispatching," from mittere "to send," → mission.

Payâm, variants payqâm, peyqâm, Mid.Pers. paygâm, ultimately from *patigam-, literally "arriving, newcomer," from *pati- "to, toward, at, in," → ad hoc, + *gam- "to come," → heliosheath.

payâmbar (#)

Fr.: messager   

One who brings → messages.

From M.E. messengere, messingere, messangere, from O.Fr. messanger, a variant of messagier, from → message + → -er.

Payâmbar "messenger," from payâm, → message, + bar "carrier," from bordan "carry," → vector.

MESSENGER spacecraft
  فضاناو ِ مسنجر   
fazânâv-e MESSENGER

Fr.: sonde MESSENGER   

A NASA robotic spacecraft that orbited the planet → Mercury for more than four years, between 2011 and 2015. Among its accomplishments, the mission determined Mercury's surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered details about its internal magnetic field, and verified its polar deposits are dominantly water-ice. → Mercury's tail.

Messenger, short for "MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging", a reference to the → messenger god Mercury from Roman mythology; → spacecraft.

Messier catalog
  کاتالوگ ِ مسیه   
kâtâlog-e Messier

Fr.: catalogue de Messier   

A catalog of more than 100 nebulous-appearing astronomical objects, initially established to avoid confusion with comets. These objects are now well known to be among the brightest and most striking gaseous nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. The designations of the catalog are still used in identification; e.g. M1 is the Crab Nebula (in Taurus).

In honor of the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817), who compiled the list between 1760 and 1784 in order to avoid confusion with comets; → catalog.

Messier object
  بر‌آخت ِ مسیه   
barâxt-e Messier

Fr.: objet de Messier   

Any of the nebulous-looking → astronomical objects listed in the → Messier catalog.

Messier catalog; → object.

Mestel theory
  نگره‌ی ِ مستل   
negare-ye Mestel

Fr.: théorie de Mestel   

The first quantitative model showing that the energy of → white dwarfs is the leftover heat from the star's past nuclear fusion that leaks slowly into space. In this analytic model constructed by Mestel (1952), a white dwarf consists of two layers. The inner layer, which contains most of the mass, is assumed to be → isothermal because of efficient thermal conductivity by the → degenerate electrons. Moreover, it is supposed that the electrons do not contribute significantly to the → heat capacity. The heat capacity comes entirely from the ions, which are assumed to behave as a classical → ideal gas. The thin non-degenerate outer layer forms an insulating blanket and controls the rate at which the energy from the ion reservoir is leaked out into space. The specific rate is controlled by the radiative opacity at the boundary between these two layers, and is assumed to obey → Kramers' opacity law. The Mestel theory shows that the cooling rate of a white dwarf is proportional to its temperature (hotter white dwarfs cool faster), and gives a relationship between the luminosity (L) of the white dwarf and the cooling time: t ∝ L-5/7. More recent models take into account some or all of the following processes neglected in the Mestel theory: neutrino cooling (important for L > 10-1.5 Lsun), latent heat of crystallization release (important for L < 10-4 Lsun), nuclear energy generation via proton-proton burning (important when MH ≥ 10-4 M*), and gravitational energy release from surface layers. The Mestel theory is a very good approximation of more recent calculations. For a review of the Mestel theory see Van Horn (1971, IAU Symp. 42, 97; W. J. Luyten, Editor), Wood (1990, J. Roy. Astro. Soc. Canada 84, 150), and Kepler and Brdaley (1995, Baltic Astron. 4, 166).

Named after Leon Mestel (1927-), British astrophysicist, who put forward this theory in 1952 (MNRAS, 112, 583); → theory.

Meszaros effect
  اسکر ِ مسزاروس   
oskar-e Meszaros

Fr.: effet de Meszaros   

Reduced growth or stagnation undergone by → cold dark matter perturbations during the period when the → early Universe was → radiation-dominated. The photons cannot collapse, and by their pressure prevent the matter to do so, when radiation dominates. Matter pertubation (collapse) remains frozen until the density equality between radiation and matter.

Péter Mészáros, 1974, A&A 37, 225; → effect.

matâ- (#)

Fr.: méta-   

A prefix appearing in loanwords from Gk., with the meanings 1) "after, behind;" 2) "changed, altered;" 3) "higher, beyond." → metagalaxy; metaphysics; → metastable.

From Gk. meta (prepositin) "in the midst of, among, with, after," originally me-ta (Mycenaean Greek), from PIE *me- "in the middle" (cf. Goth. miþ, O.E. mið "with, together with, among," E. with).

Matâ-, from Av. matay-, mati- "protrusion of mountain range," framanyente "to be protruding, jutting;" from PIE base *men- "to stand out, to project;" cf. L. mons (genitive montis) "mountain," minere "to project, jut, threaten" (other related terms: mouth, prominent, amount, etc.).


Fr.: métadonnées   

Specifically defined data elements that describe how and when a particular set of data was collected, and how it is formatted. Metadata is used to organize, manipulate, and work with data when it is not necessary or desired to actually deal with the data itself. The reason is that the metadata is usually far smaller and easier to work with than the data that it represents.

meta-; → data.


Fr.: métagalaxie   

An obsolete term which once denoted the entire system of galaxies including the Milky Way.

meta-; → galaxy.

felez (#)

Fr.: métal   

1) Chemistry: An → element in which the highest occupied energy band (→ conduction band) is only partially filled with electrons.
2) Astrophysics: Conventionally, any element heavier than → helium. The term "metal," as used for this concept, is in fact inappropriate. Same as → heavy element. See also → metallicity.

From O.Fr. metal, from L. metallum "metal, mine, quarry, what is got by mining," from Gk. metallon "metal, ore," originally "mine, quarry, pit," probably from metalleuein "to mine, to quarry," of unknown origin, but related somehow to metallan "to seek after."

Felez "metal," loanword from Ar. filizz.

metal deficiency

Fr.: déficience en métaux   

The quality of being metal deficient, e.g. → metal-deficient galaxy.

metal; deficiency from L. deficientem (nominative deficiens), pr.p. of deficere "to desert, fail," from → de- "down, away" + facere "to do, perform" + -ency a noun suffix, equivalent to -ence.

Kamfelezi, from kam "little, few; deficient, wanting; scarce" (Mid.Pers. kam "little, small, few," O.Pers./Av. kamna- "small, few," related to keh "small, little, slender" (related to kâstan, kâhidan "to decrease, lessen, diminish," from Mid.Pers. kâhitan, kâstan, kâhênitan "to decrease, diminish, lessen;" Av. kasu- "small, little;" Proto-Iranian *kas- "to be small, diminish, lessen") + felezmetal + -i suffix denoting state.

metal-deficient galaxy
  کهکشان ِ کم‌فلز   
kahkešân-e kamfelez

Fr.: galaxie pauvre en métaux   

A galaxy whose → metallicity is smaller than that of the → Milky Way galaxy.

Adj. from → metal deficiency; → galaxy.


Fr.: pauvre en métaux   

Describing an → astronomical object in which the → chemical abundances of → heavy elements are lower than that of a reference value (usually solar or of Milky Way).

metal; → poor.

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