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Astronomy final exam
Practice questions for comprehensive section and solar system section, sun, stars, and galaxies shiii
Terms in this set (99)
The nearest star to the Earth (not including the sun) is:
C. Proxima Centauri
What does it mean to say that the next closest star to the Earth is 4.2 light years away?
A. the light we see left the star 4.2 years ago
B. the light year has all months with 30 days
C. the star is only 4.2 years old
D. Both A & B
E. All of the above
The Milky Way Galaxy:
A: contains over 100 billion stars.
B. is a spiral-shaped galaxy.
C. is approx. 75 - 100,000 ly in diameter
D. all of the above
all of the above
At 2 million light-years distance, the ____ galaxy is the next closest galaxy to the Milky Way.
The average distance from the Sun to Mars is 1.52 AU. What is the average distance from the Earth to Mars?
A. 1 AU
B. .52 AU
D. 1.52 AU
E. Don't have enough information to determine
You live at a latitude of 25° N. What is the angle between the northern horizon and the north celestial pole?
E. the answer depends on the day of the year
The celestial sphere is:
A. a line around the sky directly above the Earth's equator
B. the point in space that the Earth's axis is aligned with (points at)
C. the invisible dome of stars that appears to circle the Earth
the invisible dome of stars that appears to circle the Earth
What star is presently located very near the north celestial pole?
Why will that star not be the "north star" in, say, 5000 years?
A. it will burn out and cannot be seen
B. astronomers pick a new star to be the north star every 100 years
C. the Earth's geographical axis will be pointing in a different direction
the Earth's geographical axis will be pointing in a different direction
The ecliptic is:
A. the apparent path of the Solar System against the background of the Milky Way
B. the apparent path of the sun against the background of stars as seen from the Earth
C. the apparent path of the moon against the background of stars as seen from the Earth
the apparent path of the sun against the background of stars as seen from the Earth
Which of the following is a correct statement of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere?
A. The Earth's NH is tilted toward the sun during the summer
B. The Earth is closer to the sun during the NH summer
C. The light from the sun shines less directly on the Northern Hemisphere during the summer
D. The period of daylight is shorter during the summer than at other times of the year
The Earth's NH is tilted toward the sun during the summer
Which one of the following examples is descriptive of the term revolution?
A. the period of time for 1 day on Earth
B. causes the apparent nightly movement of stars
C. the turning about an imaginary geographic axis
D. the 29.5 days the moon requires to circle Earth
If two stars were the width of your closed fist when held at arm's length, they would be approximately:
A. 1 degree apart
B. 3 degrees apart
C. 10 degrees apart
D. 15 degrees apart
E. 20 degrees apart
Which of the following statements are true concerning the winter solstice in the NH?
A. it is the longest period of daylight during the year for the NH
B. the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest
C. the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Cancer
D. the winter solstice occurs around December 22nd
E. none of these are true
What is the present axial tilt of the Earth's axis (in degrees)?
The "Big Dipper" is not a constellation, it is a well known part of a constellation called a(an):
E. star hub
Why do the sun, moon, planets and stars appear to move in the sky?
A. because they actually do
B. the Earth rotates W to E
C. the Earth is the center of the SS
Astrology is described as a pseudoscience. It uses the 13 constellations of the ____ to fabricate a ____ prediction of a person's future.
A. ecliptic, horoscope
B. zodiac, spectroscope
C. zodiac, horoscope
D. celestial sphere, ecliptic
Sunlight is less focused on Earth's surface and provides less warmth when the sun is at:
A. high angle
B. a low angle
If you were on Earth's equator, where would the north star be located?
A. directly overhead
B. on the celestial equator
C. on the eastern horizon
D. on the northern horizon
If the stars made the following pattern when looking directly overhead, where would the observer most
A. north pole
B. the equator
C. about 45° latitude
D. not enough information
Which of the following early astronomers correctly placed the Sun at the center of the known universe?
C. Tycho Brahe
D. Nicolaus Copernicus
Which of the following early astronomers was responsible for correctly determining that the orbits of planets around the Sun were actually the shape of an ellipse?
Which of the following astronomers developed the Law of Universal Gravitation?
As stated in Newton's 1st Law, an object at rest will
A. tend to stay at rest
B. exert an equal but opposite force on the surface it is resting on
C. accelerate as its mass decreases
tend to stay at rest
According to Newton's 1st Law, what path would Earth follow if for some reason the Sun had no gravitational
influence on the Earth?
Newton's 2nd Law establishes a cause and effect relationship that objects do not move, stop, or change
direction without the application of:
E. none of these
According to Newton's 2nd Law, if a spacecraft can obtain speed "x" by firing its rockets at 50% power for 20 seconds, what speed could it obtain by firing the rockets at 100% power for 20 seconds (In other words, what happens to acceleration if there is twice the pushing force)?
A. speed x
B. speed 2x
C. speed 3x
D. speed 4x
E. speed 5x
Apply Newton's 3rd Law to this scenario: If the Earth exerts a pull of gravity on the Moon as it travels through space, then:
A. the effect of the Sun's gravity is nullified (doesn't exist)
B. the Moon exerts a equal pull of gravity on the Earth
C. the mass of a person on the Moon's surface increases
D. the Moon will move faster through space
What two factors determine the amount of gravitational attraction two objects have on each other?
A. mass and distance
B. force and acceleration
C. mass and acceleration
According to the inverse square law, how much gravitational attraction would a person experience if he/she were to relocate from Earth's surface to a point twice as distant from the Earth's center?
A. 1/2 as much
B. 1/4 as much
C. 1/8 as much
D. 1/9 as much
E. 1/16 as much
Of the following planets, which takes the longest time to orbit the Sun?
How long does it take for the Earth to complete a "sidereal" orbit of the Sun?
A. 30 days
B. 6 months
C. 1 year
D. 2 years
E. 10 years
Which of the following ideas concerning the organization of the "universe" best illustrates the concept of Occam's Razor?
A. geocentric universe
B. heliocentric universe
C. no universe
Which of Galileo's discoveries would best support the idea that the sun was at the center of the known universe of his time?
A. discovery of Jupiter's moons
B. discovery of moon surface features
C. discovering the "phases' of Venus
D. discovering dark spots on the Sun (sunspots)
Consider the following scenario: What would be the effect of the gravitational attraction of the Earth on the moon, "if" the Earth were to have double its present mass?
A. no effect on gravity
B. twice the gravitational attraction
C. one fourth the gravitational attraction
D. one half the gravitational attraction
What would be the effect on someone's "weight" who is standing on Earth's surface if the scenario in #23 were repeated (Earth gains twice the mass)?
A. no effect on their weight
B. their weight would double
C. their weight would be half as much
D. their weight would be one fourth as much
What would be the effect of the gravitational attraction between the Earth and the moon if the moon were twice as distant from the Earth as it is now?
A. no effect on gravity
B. the gravitational attraction would double
C. the gravitational attraction would be half as much
D. the gravitational attraction would be one fourth as much
Of the various forms of electro-magnetic radiation, which form(s) is (are) most useful for observations of objects in space from the surface of the Earth?
A. visible light only
B. visible light, infra-red, and ultraviolet
C. x-rays and gamma rays
D. radio waves, microwaves and ultraviolet
E. visible light, radio waves
A, B, and C represent a view of the same night sky object through three different telescopes. Which of the images below would be representative of the telescope with the greatest resolution?
Which of the following "powers" of the optical telescope is most important to one looking to purchase a good telescope?
D. seeing ability
Calculate how much more light a telescope with a primary lens diameter of 24cm will gather when compared to the human eye and its lens of approximately .8cm. (Da/Db)2
A. .03 times more
B. 19.2 times more
C. 30 times more
D. 24.8 times more
Calculate the magnification power of a refracting telescope that has a primary focal length of 200cm when coupled with an eyepiece that has a focal length of .5cm. M = FO / FE
Assume you have two telescopes, a refractor and a reflector, each having the same diameter lens and mirror. Which of the following would be a disadvantage when using the refracting scope for observations?
A. Refractors generally are able to point at only one spot in the sky, whereas the reflector can be rotated
B. refractors do not focus all colors (wavelengths) at the same point creating chromatic aberation
C. refractors have less magnification
D. refractors allow less light to reach the eyepiece
Astronomers use interferometers to
A. observe extremely dim objects
B. measure the speed of remote objects
C.detect radiation that otherwise cannot pass through our atmosphere
D. improve the ability to see fine details in objects (resolution) by combining the view of several telescopes spaced apart
E. measure accurately the composition of objects
Suppose we made observations with a telescope, but found that we needed better resolution. Of the following changes, which one would allow us to make higher-resolution observations?
A. observe with a telescope that has a bigger mirror
B. use a telescope with a lens instead of a mirror
C. use a telescope with a mirror made of gold
D. Observe with the same telescope but at longer wavelengths
E. all of the above
The eyepiece of a telescope is primarily used
A. to collect as much light as possible
B. as a magnifier of the image created at the prime focus
C. as a prism to break light into its component colors
Which of the following explains the advantage of the Hubble Space Telescope compared to ground-based telescopes?
A. it is the largest reflecting mirror telescope ever made
B. it is a US spacecraft and does not have to be shared with other nations
C. it is not affected by atmospheric "seeing" conditions, it is in space
D. it is closer to the objects it is imaging
E. all of the above
What is the purpose of adaptive optics?
A. to make telescope designs more flexible so they can fit in smaller buildings
B. to allow telescopes to look in several directions without having to turn the primary mirror
C. to increase the effective collecting area of a telescope by capturing more photons
D. to rapidly adjust for the changing distortions caused by variations in the Earth's atmosphere
E. all of the above
The best site for a land-based optical telescope is a place where the air is:
A. thin and dry
B. thick and dry
C. thin and moist
D. thick and moist
The image produced by a CCD
A. is more sensitive than regular photographic plates or film
B. can be stored as numbers (digital) in computer memory
C. similar to the electronic images in digital cameras and cell phones
D. all of the above
E. none of the above
Which of the following statements about "pixels" would be true?
A. pixel is short for "picture element"
B. pixels capture light and record light intensity
C. the greater the number of pixels, the greater the resolution of the image
D. all of the above
E. only B and C are correct
Suppose that two stars are separated in the sky by 0.1 arc-seconds. If you look at them with a telescope that has an angular resolution of 0.5 arc-second, what will you see?
A. two distinct stars
B. one point of light that is the blurred image of both stars
C. nothing at all
D. the question is flawed since no optical telescopes have resolutions less than 1 whole arc-second
If you view an X-ray image from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and the image is a brilliant red color surrounded by blues and greens, it means that
A. the object is really red in its natural color
B. the red parts of the image are hotter than the blue and green parts
C. It depends - your eyes can't see X-rays, so colors are chosen arbitrarily to represent something about X-rays recorded by the telescope
D. none of these
The twinkling of stars is caused by
A. variations in stellar brightness with time
B. light pollution
C. motion of air in the atmosphere and associated light refraction
D. movement of the Earth through space
If you wanted a radio telescope to achieve the same angular resolution as a visible-light telescope, it would need to be
A. much larger
B. slightly larger
C. in space
The term "seeing" is used to describe how faint an object can be detected by an optical telescope.
True or False
When energized (heat, electricity, etc.), all atoms will emit light in the visible spectrum.
True or False
What is true concerning the atomic spectrum produced by an atom?
A. all atoms have the same atomic spectral signature
B. every atom has its very own unique atomic spectral signature
C. atomic spectral patterns can be used to identify the various component elements in a star
D. all of the above are correct
E. only B and C are correct
Which of the following technological advancements has done the most to improve the usefulness of the optical telescope?
A. higher altitude locations
B. computer technology
C. larger, segmented mirrors
D. highly trained astronomers
a discrete, quantifiable packet of electromagnetic radiation (light)
a telescope design in which light is reflected off a primary mirror to a secondary mirror halfway up the tube of the telescope
the individual lines of color representing the wavelengths produced by an energized atom
the physical process of light "bouncing" off of a surface
where all rays of light come to a focus in a telescope
The point in the solar nebula at which icy hydrogen compounds began to condense out is known as the
A. K-T Boundary
B. Roche Limit
C. frost line
D. Kuiper Belt
According to the solar nebular theory of solar system formation, why did Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars form as solid, rocky bodies?
A. because they were small and unable to capture large amounts of gases
B. because only rock/metallic materials could condense into solids at that distance from the sun
C. because solid, rocky materials are drawn closer to the sun by gravitational attraction
Which of the following events is most closely attributed to a/an asteroid impact on Earth?
A. disappearance of dinosaurs
B. the Great Flood
C. the last Ice Age
D. fall of the Roman Empire
Disappearance of dinosaurs
The tail of a comet always points directly away from the Sun. This characteristic is a result of:
A. comet speed
B. the solar wind
C. gravitational pull of the outer planets
D. none of this
Comets originate in either the Kupier Belt or the Oort Cloud. Where are these areas?
A. beyond the orbit of Pluto
B. at the center of the Milky Way
C. between the orbit of Pluto and Neptune D. in the Andromeda Galaxy
Between what two planets can the asteroid belt be found?
A. Mercury and Venus
B. Neptune and Pluto
C. Earth and Mars
D. Jupiter and Mars
Meteorites are classified as stones, irons, or stony irons. The names are descriptive of:
A. Location of the find
B. soil composition around the find
C. composition of the meteorite
Meteorite and asteroid impacts are common to all solid bodies in the solar system. Which of the following explanations best accounts for Earth's small number of discovered impact sites?
A. weathering and erosion remove traces of impacts
B. impacts may be covered with snow and ice
C. impacts may have occurred in the oceans
D. all of these are correct
Where would a scientist most likely search for meteorites?
A. In his backyard
C. in the ocean
D. on the moon
E. asteroid belt
A small, solid piece of material that penetrates the Earth's atmosphere and burns up is a(n)
What can scientists use to estimate the speeds of planetary winds on Uranus?
A. dark spots
B. period of revolution
C. cloud movement
D. none of these
The axis of Uranus
A. points directly at the sun all the time
B. is inclined a little more than 90 degrees from vertical
C. is nearly vertical
D. never points in the direction of the sun
What is responsible for the bluish color of the atmosphere of both Uranus and Neptune?
A. hydrogen gas
B. methane gas
C. helium gas
D. carbon dioxide
Recent observations of Titan's surface by spacecraft indicate the presence of
A. volcanic activity
B. large lakes/seas
C. extensive mountain ranges
Which of the following names is descriptive of Saturn's largest moon?
A distinctive ring system encircles Saturn. Which of the following is not a true characteristic of the ring?
A. very thin
B. composed of ice fragments
D. has several large gaps
Which of the Galilean moons appears to have a cracked surface resembling ice floes on ocean water on Earth?
Which of the Galilean moons is the only other solid body in the solar system to have active volcanoes?
What would Jupiter's Great Red Spot be comparable to on Earth?
A. a whirlpool
B. a hurricane
C. a tornado
D. a dust storm
E. a volcanic crater
Belts and zones on Jupiter's visible surface are
A. areas of differing color (light and dark) B. areas of rising and descending clouds
C. areas of differing temperature
D. all of these are correct
The Jovian planets do not have
A. an atmosphere
B. magnetic fields
C. solid surfaces
Which of the following is the correct order of the terrestrial planets starting with the closest to the Sun?
A. Mars, Earth, Venus, Mercury
B. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
C. Earth, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars
D. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
NASA presently has two remotely driven exploring vehicles working the surface of Mars. They are called
A. Gemini and Apollo
B. Castor and Pollux
C. Freedom and Discovery
D. Spirit and Opportunity
Which of the following surface features on Mars may indicate that the surface once had flowing water?
A. impact craters
B. polar ice caps
C. dry stream beds
Volcanoes on both Venus and Mars appear to be extremely large bulges composed of many lava flows. On Earth this type of volcano would be called a(n) ___ volcano.
B. cinder cone
What was the first discovery that raised Earth scientists interest in possible lifeforms existing on Mars?
A. polar ice caps
B. canali (channels)
C. the Martian "face"
D. Martian meteorites in Antarctica
Clouds on Venus are composed of
A. water vapor
B. carbon dioxide
C. sulfuric acid
Venus exhibits retrograde axial rotation. This means that the Sun, when viewed from Venus, would rise in
the east or the west
Why are astronomers unable to see the surface of Venus with telescopes?
A. it is always behind the Sun
B. Venus is completely overcast in clouds
C. it is too far away from Earth to see details
D. duststorms on the surface obscure details
Venus is approximately .7 AU from the Sun (almost twice as far as what Mercury is), but its' surface temperature is about 100 ºF higher than the surface temperature of Mercury. This is due to:
A. Venus keeping the same side facing the Sun
B. Venus sometimes swinging inside the orbit of Mercury
C. Venus having a molten surface
D. Venus' thick cloud cover and greenhouse effect
Venus is sometimes referred to as Earth's "sister planet." This description is mainly a reference to their
A. similar sizes
B. similar atmosphere
C. similar surface features
D. similar lifeforms
The largest surface feature on Mercury, the Caloris Basin, was most likely formed from
A. a large volcanic caldera
B. a large asteroid impact
C. Mercurian plate tectonics
The average difference in day/night temperatures on Earth is about 20ºF. On Mercury it is approximately
B. 100 ºF
C. 300 ºF
D. 900 ºF
E. 1500 ºF
From what source did Earth scientists obtain most of our present information about the planet Mercury?
A. the Apollo Project
B. NEARS Project
C. Mariner 10 Spacecraft
D. Pioneer Spacecraft
Which planet in our solar system has the most iron (Fe) rich core?
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