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EE8086

NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
SEMESTER 1 EXAMINATION 2009-2010
EE8086 – ASTRONOMY: STARS, GALAXIES AND COSMOLOGY

November/December 2009

Time Allowed: 2 hours

INSTRUCTIONS
1.

This paper consists of 50 multiple choice questions and comprises TWELVE (12)
pages.

2.

Each multiple choice question carries 2 marks and each multiple choice question
has only one answer. Answer ALL the multiple choice questions.

3.

This is a closed-book examination.

4.

Indicate your answers to the multiple choice questions on the Answer Sheet
provided by shading the appropriate circle for each question.

5.

You are not allowed to remove this examination paper away from the examination
hall.

1.

What do we mean when we say that the Sun is in gravitational equilibrium?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

2.

The Sun maintains a steady temperature.
The hydrogen gas in the Sun is balanced so that it never rises upward or
falls downward.
The Sun always has the same amount of mass, creating the same
gravitational force.
There is a balance within the Sun between the outward push of pressure
and the inward pull of gravity.
The Sun is stationary in space and all other planets orbit around it.

How many galaxies are there in the observable universe?
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.

Roughly a thousand times more than the number of stars in our galaxy.
About as many as the number of stars we see in the sky with our naked
eyes.
About as many as the number of grains of sand on all the beaches on
Earth.
Roughly (within a factor of 10) the same as the number of stars in our
galaxy.
Infinite.

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superclusters. It becomes a white dwarf. Galaxies are randomly distributed. The tides on Earth are an example of Newton’s first law of motion. Galaxies are uniformly distributed. The main constituents of the jovian planets are nitrogen. Pluto Neptune Uranus Jupiter Mercury 2 of 12 . 4. and hyperclusters. C. Tidal friction caused by the Earth’s stretching from the Moon’s gravity is gradually slowing down the rotation of the Earth. B. D. 7. but blue stars are typically found only near star-forming regions. Galaxies are distributed in a great shell expanding outward from the center of the universe. C. It becomes a neutron star. E. The most accurate way to determine the distance to a nearby star is based on Cepheid variables. The more distant a star. C. D. Galaxies appear to be distributed in chains and sheets that surround great voids. E. Variation in the absorption of the atmosphere causes stars to twinkle. What happens to the core of a star upon the occurrence of a planetary nebula? A. B. 6. Red and orange stars are spread evenly throughout the galactic disk. D. Which of the following statements is true? A. B. D. 5. E. ammonia and methane. Which of the following statements is false? A. E. the smaller its parallax. It breaks apart in a violent explosion.EE8086 3. What does the universe look like on the 100 million light-year scale? A. B. Galaxies are distributed in a hierarchy of clusters. It contracts from a protostar to a main-sequence star. Which of the following planets has the most volcanically active moons? A. Light from white dwarfs shows a gravitational redshift. D. The Sun generates energy primarily by nuclear fission. The atmosphere of Venus is more acidic than that of Mars. B. None of the above. C. C. E.

The mechanism of electrons orbiting an atomic nucleus is like that of planets orbiting the Sun. What is left behind after a supernova event? A. If you double the mass of fusion material in a hydrogen bomb. C.EE8086 8. The star explodes violently. which tends to hide their actual motion and prevent the pattern from changing. Either a neutron star or a black hole. the brightest stars do not. B. Stars move. The core contracts and becomes a ball of neutrons. Sunspots are cooler than the surrounding region of the Sun’s surface. D. 10. D. X-rays are always more intense than visible. and these are the ones that trace the patterns we see in the constellations. infrared and radio waves so that X-ray is in general hazardous to health. but they move very slowly and only a few kilometers in a thousand years. 9. E. A neutron star. The core contracts and ignites neutron fusion. E. E. C. A black hole. 11. C. Either a white dwarf or a neutron star. B. leaving nothing behind. A white dwarf. Although most stars move through the sky. Why? A. D. B. Patterns of stars in constellations hardly change in appearance after even a few thousand years. E. you quadruple the amount of energy generated. Angular momentum depends upon on mass and angular velocity of the object. C. Stars within a constellation move together as a group. 3 of 12 . B. The core contracts and becomes a white dwarf. The core contracts and becomes a black hole. D. What happens when the gravity of a massive star is able to overcome neutron degeneracy pressure? A. Stars are fixed and never move. The stars in our sky actually move rapidly relative to us thousands of kilometers per hour but are so far away that it takes a long time for this motion to make a noticeable change in the patterns in the sky. Which of the following statements is true? A.

4 of 12 . the speed of our solar system orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Earth’s speed of rotation on its axis. and about when? A. Earth’s speed of rotation on its axis. C. E. E. A neutron star is closest in size (radius) to the Sun. The major heat source of the core of the Earth is natural chemical reaction. 13. Earth’s speed of rotation on its axis.000 years ago. typical speeds of stars in the local solar neighborhood relative to us. Huygens and Newton. 14. typical speeds of stars in the local solar neighborhood relative to us. about 400 years ago. Earth’s speed of revolution about the Sun. Kepler. the speeds of very distant galaxies relative to us. the speeds of very distant galaxies relative to us. about 2. The Big Bang predicts that one in four atoms in the universe is helium. Earth’s speed of revolution about the Sun. the speeds of very distant galaxies relative to us. 15. Most of the planets discovered around other stars are more massive than Jupiter. Newton and Einstein.EE8086 12. B. the speed of our solar system orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Earth’s speed of revolution about the Sun. typical speeds of stars in the local solar neighborhood relative to us. The speed of our solar system orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. about 100 years ago. Which of the following statements is true? A. Which scientists played a major role in overturning the ancient idea of an Earthcentered universe. C. The Sun The Earth A football stadium A small city A basketball Which of the following correctly lists speeds from slowest to fastest? A. the speeds of very distant galaxies relative to us. Aristotle and Plato. C. typical speeds of stars in the local solar neighborhood relative to us. about 300 years ago. Earth’s speed of rotation on its axis. D. the speed of our solar system orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. B. about 400 years ago. E. E. C. the speed of our solar system orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Spiral arms are bright because they are the only places where we can find stars within a galaxy. D. and Galileo. The speeds of very distant galaxies relative to us. Earth’s speed of revolution about the Sun. typical speeds of stars in the local solar neighborhood relative to us. Copernicus. Earth’s speed of revolution about the Sun. B. D. Aristotle and Copernicus. Earth’s speed of rotation on its axis. B. D. Which of the following is closest in size (radius) to a white dwarf? A.

B. E. Some quasars can change their brightness every few hours. The point directly over your head. A half-circle extending from your horizon due east. but higher frequencies such as X-rays and gamma rays will not be affected. B. How does the gravity of an object affect light? A. 19. C. 18. Visible light coming from a compact massive object will be redshifted. to your horizon due west. to your horizon due south. A half-circle extending from your horizon due north. D. Quasars were more common in the past. Less energetic light will not be able to escape from a compact massive object but more energetic light will be able to. E. Which of the following statement about quasars is false? A. C. B. Some quasars are more than a thousand times more luminous than the Milky Way. Light does not have mass and is therefore not affected by gravity. Light coming from a compact massive object will be blueshifted. Quasars are powered by the energy radiated by matter falling into a central black hole. Which of the following statements is true? A. through the north celestial pole. Only hydrogen nuclei are formed during the era of nucleosynthesis. 5 of 12 . D. 17.EE8086 16. D. All brown dwarfs have masses more than about 8% that of our Sun. The seasonal change in Venus is more pronounced than that of Earth. through your zenith. E. through your zenith. E. D. You can see an absorption line spectrum from a cloud of gas in interstellar space if the cloud is cool and lies between you and a hot star. Light coming from a compact massive object will be redshifted. Quasars are powered by the intense production of large numbers of stars that can only be sustained for a relatively short time. A half-circle extending from your horizon due east. B. The boundary between the portions of the celestial sphere you can see at any moment and the portion that you cannot see. C. The heaviest element produced by stars or in supernovae is silicon. Which of the following correctly describes the meridian in your sky? A. to your horizon due west. C.

When someone on the Earth observes the Moon in the first-quarter phase. E. Greenhouse gases absorb infrared light coming from the Sun. D. 24. Which statement about pulsars is not thought to be true? A. C. interference from the full moon. the tilt of the earth’s axis. C. The universe is between 12 to 20 billion years old based on current estimates of the value of Hubble’s constant. new Earth phase. full Earth phase. Pulsars have the same upper mass limit as neutron stars do. C. the location of the earth in its orbit. someone on the Moon facing the earth observes the earth in the A. Neutron stars are the densest objects that we can observe in the universe. C. A pulsar must have a very strong magnetic field and rotate quite rapidly. B. Pulsars are kept from collapsing by neutron degeneracy pressure. Almost all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were made inside stars. and this absorbed sunlight heats the lower atmosphere and the surface of a planet. baseball on television. B. B. Pulsars can form only in close binary systems. 23. The nebular theory for the formation of the solar system successfully predicts the equal number of terrestrial and jovian planets. planetesimals were composed entirely of ice. D. planetesimals were composed entirely of rock and outside the frost line. B. The significant loss of atmospheric gas to space in Mars could be attributed to the lost of global magnetic field. Orion is visible on winter evenings but not summer evenings because of A. the precession of the earth’s axis. Stars are continually forming in the halo of our galaxy today. E. D. third-quarter Earth phase.EE8086 20. E. C. All pulsars are neutron stars. E. Within the frost line. B. 21. Which of the following statements is true? A. 22. first-quarter Earth phase. Earth’s atmosphere resulted from the impact of icy planetesimals that originated in the outer regions of the Solar system. crescent Earth phase. 6 of 12 . Which of the following statements is false? A. E. but not all neutron stars are pulsars. D. D. a red giant is hotter and dimmer. Compared to the star it evolved from.

E. D. B. E. decrease from right to left. B. Measurement of stellar parallax allows us to determine distances to nearby stars. C. 26. More massive white dwarfs are smaller than less massive white dwarfs. we may use it to find the approximate direction of north in a lot of places on Earth. B. Jupiter and Pluto Saturn and Uranus Neptune and Uranus Neptune and Pluto Saturn and Jupiter The existence of stellar parallax is direct proof that the earth orbits the Sun. Ancient astronomers were unable to measure parallax and used the absence of observed parallax as an argument in favor of an Earth-centered universe. you will see the North Star (Polaris) getting lower in the sky. C. stellar radii A. D. D. Which of the following planets are bluish in color? A. increase diagonally from the lower right to the upper left. E. On a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. are greatest in the lower left and least in the upper right. C. are impossible to determine. 27. Which of the following statements about parallax is false? A. 28. You can demonstrate parallax simply by holding up a finger and looking at it alternately from your left and right eyes. E. 7 of 12 . C. B. Kepler’s laws said that the force of attraction between any two objects decreases with the square of the distance between their centers. D. The symbol E in the formula E = mc2 represents the kinetic energy of a moving object. Which of the following statements is true? A.EE8086 25. The technique of stellar parallax was used by Hubble to determine that the Andromeda Galaxy (M 31) is about 2 million light-years away. are greatest in the lower right and least in the upper left. When traveling north from Singapore to China. As compass always points to the North Pole.

How did the Ptolemaic model explain the apparent retrograde motion of the planets? A. What are the conditions required for a lunar eclipse? A. the protostar assembles from a molecular cloud. The phase of the Moon must be full. it becomes luminous enough to emit thermal radiation. methane and carbon dioxides are greenhouse gases found on Earth. A protostar becomes a main-sequence star when A. It placed the Sun at the center so that the planets’ apparent retrograde motion was seen as the earth passed each one in its orbit. water vapor. and the Moon’s orbital plane must lie in the ecliptic. E. B. B. D. 32. It held that sometimes the planets moved backward along their circular orbits. The phase of the Moon must be new. It held that the planets moved along small circles that moved on larger circles around the earth. hydrogen fission first begins in its core. and the nodes of the Moon’s orbit must be nearly aligned with the earth and the Sun. between the present-day orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. The phase of the Moon must be new. and the nodes of the Moon’s orbit must be nearly aligned with the earth and the Sun. Jupiter is the only jovian planet which has no rings. 31. The Earth in our solar system has the strongest magnetic field. D. 30. and the Moon’s orbital plane must lie in the ecliptic. D. and the nodes of the Moon’s orbit must be nearly aligned with the earth and the Sun. hydrogen fusion is occurring throughout its outer layer. C. It held that the planets moved along small circles that moved on larger circles around the Sun. The phase of the Moon can be new or full.EE8086 29. C. Which of the following statements is true? A. B. 8 of 12 . The frost line of the solar system is the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for hydrogen and helium to condense. Meteorites and asteroids are the only relatively unchanged fragments from the early period of planet building in the solar system. It varied the motion of the celestial sphere so that it sometimes moved backward. the rate of hydrogen fusion within its core is high enough to sustain gravitational equilibrium. C. E. B. Oxygen. D. E. C. The phase of the Moon must be full. E.

37. B. The core of the Sun is A. at the same temperature and density as the surface. subsurface ocean of liquid water. The more distant a galaxy is from us. The primary factor determining whether a white dwarf has an accretion disk is the mass of the white dwarf. B. B. We measure the magnetic field strength at the Sun by observing the sizes of sunspots: bigger sunspots mean a stronger field. constantly rising to the surface through convection. Which of the following is a consequence of Hubble’s Law? A. Which of the following statements is true? A. D. Which of the following statements is true? A. All galaxies are moving away from us equally fast. the phases of the Moon. D. D. 9 of 12 . D. eclipses of the Sun. at the same temperature but denser than the surface. Europa is considered likely to have a deep. One of the "nails in the coffin" for the earth-centered universe was A.EE8086 33. Photons in the cosmic background radiation originate from the era of galaxy formation. The cores of the terrestrial worlds are made mostly of metal because convection gradually brought dense metals downward to the core over billions of years. 34. Neutrinos is an example of baryonic matter. C. 36. B. Shield volcanoes and plate tectonics are the two geological features that appear to set Earth apart from all the other terrestrial worlds. C. Our Sun is an intermediate-mass yellow star. The accelerating expansion of the Universe. E. the faster it moves away from us. composed of iron. E. The fact that the sky is dark at night shows that the observable universe cannot extend forever. C. E. Galileo’s observations of the moons of Jupiter. the faster it moves away from us. C. hotter and denser than the surface. Galileo’s observation of stars in the Milky Way. 35. E. More distant galaxies appear younger. The closer a galaxy is to us. E. D. C. B. Mars may have been suitable for life in the past because it has very large extinct volcanoes. the retrograde motion of the planets.

and surrounding air. rock. C. The energy goes to producing sound and to heating the ground. All stars spend approximately the same amount of time on the main sequence. it falls and we say the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. 10 lb. 39. Finally. E. 60 kg.EE8086 38. C. 40. E. B. When we analyze whether a world is a possible home to life. 60 lb. what would your mass be on the Moon? A. along with a few giants and supergiants. but it has numerous supergiants and white dwarfs. as a result. C. Energy does not have to be conserved. D. D. The choices below each describe the appearance of a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram for star clusters. B. the rock hits the ground. 10 kg. we say it has some potential energy. C. It is transformed back into gravitational potential energy. When a rock is held above the ground. D. The diagram shows main-sequence stars of spectral types G. the orbit of the earth about the Sun is slightly changed. B. There is an upper limit to the mass of a neutron star. The diagram shows no main-sequence stars at all. The rock keeps the energy inside it (saving it for later use). The diagram shows main-sequence stars of every spectral type with no giants or supergiants. E. The diagram shows main-sequence stars of all the spectral types except O and B. the key thing we look for is the evidence of atmospheric oxygen. It is lost forever. What happens to the kinetic energy? A. and M. The energy goes into the ground and. Which cluster is the youngest? A. 41. along with a few giants and supergiants. Which of the following statements is true? A. E. Quasars radiate most of their energy as radio emission. If your mass is 60 kg on Earth. 10 of 12 . B. It is more preferred to put radio telescope in outer space. K. D. along with numerous giants and white dwarfs. 50 kg. The diagram shows main-sequence stars of every spectral type except O. When we let it go.

It is made mostly of ice. C. B. E. D. The appropriate unit for the Sun’s luminosity is kilogram. B. There is no gravity in space. A standard candle is A. E. Galaxy collisions were more common in the past. D. We cannot see past the cosmological horizon because it is infinitely far away. E. Pluto is different from the other outer planets in all of the following ways except which one? A. Our Sun will end its life in a planetary nebula and become a white dwarf. Its surface temperature is very cold. The escape velocity from the earth is greater for larger rockets than for small ones so that small rocket is preferred for space travel. B. A planet. Emission lines can be found in a blackbody spectrum. D. C. E. A filament in a light bulb. The presence of the Moon is essential for the existence of high and low tides. It has only one moon. C. 45. 46. D. 11 of 12 . You! Which of the following statements is true? A. B. tapered candle that lights easily. a long. 44. an object for which we are likely to know the true luminosity. Which of the following objects is not a close approximation of a thermal emitter? A. any star for which we know the exact apparent brightness. E. D. thin gas. C. 43. The best way to observe radio-ray sky is to build a radio ray satellite telescope.EE8086 42. C. a class of objects in astronomy that all have exactly the same luminosity. A star. It does not have rings. Hot. Our Earth feels a greater tidal force from the Sun than from the Moon as the Sun has greater gravitational force. Its orbit is not very close to being circular. Which of the following statements is true? A. B. an object for which we can easily measure the apparent brightness.

Careful observations of auroras here on Earth allow us to determine the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field. All asteroids lie in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Comets are balls of ice and dust. Which of the following statements is true? A. E. the earth would soon be sucked into the black hole. B. C. B. B. Most of the stars in the cluster are younger than 12 billion years old. 48. 49. All stars in the cluster are approximately at the same stage in evolution. Only asteroids collide with Earth. Most stars in the cluster are yellow or reddish in color. Most of the trillions of comets in our solar system have tails. its kinetic energy is primarily converted into potential energy. E. D. Where would we find red giant stars on a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram? A. and color all describe the same basic characteristic of a star. Spectral type. D. C. E. C. There are about 1 million known asteroids in the solar system.EE8086 47. When a returning Space Shuttle enters the atmosphere and begins to slow down. Energy in the Sun is produced by nuclear fusion in the convection zone. Lower left Upper left Upper right Lower right Centre End of Paper 12 of 12 . D. Which of the following statements about a globular cluster is true? A. E. All stars in the cluster have approximately the same mass and colour. D. If the Sun were replaced by a black hole of the same mass. 50. Which of the following statements about comets and asteroids is true? A. C. surface temperature. There is an approximately equal number of all types of stars in the cluster. B.