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Scientific Terms & Definitions: F

  • Faculae - “Bright patches that are visible on the Sun’s surface, or photosphere.”
  • Filament - “A strand of cool gas suspended over the photosphere by magnetic fields, which appears dark as seen against the disk of the Sun.”
  • Finder - “A small, wide-field telescope attached to a larger telescope. The finder is used to help point the larger telescope to the desired viewing location.”
  • Fine Structure Constant - “Usually denoted as α, the lower case Greek alpha, is the dimensionless ratio e2/(hbar*c) = 1/137.03599976… [in cgs units, or e2/(4*pi*epsilono*hbar*c) in MKS units], which gives the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. Here e is the electron charge, hbar is Planck’s constant divided by 2*pi, and c is the speed of light.”
  • Fireball - “An extremely bright meteor. Also known as bolides, fireballs can be several times brighter than the full Moon. Some can even be accompanied by a sonic boom.”
  • Flare Star - “A faint red star that appears to change in brightness due to explosions on its surface.”
  • Fluence - “Energy per unit area. Fluence is time times flux.”
  • Flux - “Power per unit area. The flux from the Sun at the Earth is 1367 Watts per square meter. This total power is often divided up into different frequency or wavelength bands, giving for example Watts per square meter per Hertz or ergs per square cm per second per micron. 1 Jansky is 10-26 Watts per square meter per Hertz.”
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