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Solar System Astronomy

SAMPLE TEST 1

About this sample test:


The sample tests are intended to acquaint you with the types of questions I will
ask, along with the manner that I will ask them. These sample tests SHOULD NOT
be considered to completely reflect the subject matter on the actual tests. Alth
ough some questions on the actual test may be similar, they will not be identica
l. Most of the questions on the test will cover the same material as the questio
ns on the sample test, but there will also likely be a few topics on the actual
test that are not covered on the sample test. Of course, if you still have troub
le, stop by my office and we'll go over the questions that are giving you a prob
lem.

Each Question is Worth 4 Points (25 questions = 100 points)


Choose the best answer to each question and mark that answer on the answer sheet
.
1) From their 'names' alone, we know that
A) 1 Ursa Majoris is brighter than 3 Ursa Majoris.
B) Alpha Orionis is brighter than delta Geminorum.
C) Beta Pictoris is brighter that delta Pictoris
D) A and C
E) All of the above

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2) Stars that are not within any of the "pictures" that make up the constellatio
ns
A) are not a part of any constellation, but are designated as "unassigned".
B) are said to belong to the "Universal Constellation"
C) are not a part of any constellation, but are designated as "Free Stars".
D) are still a part of some constellation.

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3) On a certain day the sun transited the Greenwich Meridian at 12:05 UT. On the
same day you note that the sun transits your meridian at 06:05 UT. What is your
longitude?
A) 90 degrees west.
B) 60 degrees west.
C) 90 degrees east.
D) 60 degrees east.

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4) You are adrift at sea, and you see a star directly overhead. You remember fro
m your astronomy lab at N.C. State that this star has a declination of 42 degree
s South, and a Right Ascension of 8 hours. From this information alone, you know
that
A) You are adrift at a point north latitude 42 degrees.
B) You are adrift at a point south latitude 42 degrees.
C) You are adrift at a point west longitude 8 degrees.
D) You are adrift at a point south latitude 48 degrees.
E) A and C

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5) Your local sidereal time is 17 hours, 0 minutes. The star "Becky" transited y
our meridian 1 hour and 30 minutes ago. What is "Becky's" Right Ascension?
A) 17h 30m
B) 16h 30m
C) 18h 30m
D) 15h 30m
E) Unable to be determined from this data.

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6) Of the following, when would we expect a Spring tide?


A) On the day of the Vernal Equinox.
B) At any New Moon.
C) At any First or Third Quarter Moon.
D) Only at the first Full Moon of Spring.

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7) The time it takes the Earth to rotate once on its axis relative to the stars
is called:
A) A mean solar day.
B) An apparent solar day.
C) A sidereal day.
D) A stellar day.
E) A Doris Day

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8) In order for there to be a solar eclipse, the Moon must be in which phase?
A) Full
B) New
C) Either Full or New, but no other phase.
D) None of the above. Solar eclipses can occur with the moon in any phase.

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9) A 1st quarter Moon is just transiting your meridian. About what time isit?
A) Sunset
B) Noon
C) Sunrise
D) Midnight

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10) The star Beta Cassiopeia has a visual magnitude of 2.3. The star Tau Ceti ha
s a visual magnitude of 3.5. Which one looks brighter?
A) Beta Cassiopeia
B) Tau Ceti
C) Not enough information given.
D) All of the above.

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11) As viewed from Raleigh, if you watch the stars move during the course of an
evening, what would you observe about any star (except Polaris)?
A) The star's altitude and declination will both change.
B) The star's declination will remain the same, but azimuth will change.
C) The star's azimuth will change, but its altitude will remain the same.
D) The star's right ascension will change, but its declination will remain the s
ame.
E) The star's right ascension, declination, altitude, and azimuth, will ALL chan
ge.

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12) Of A, B, and C below, which is not a reason why winters (in the Northern Hem
isphere) are colder than summers? (If A, B, and C are all reasons, then D is the
answer.)
A) The sun's rays hit the Earth at more of an angle in the winter, thus deliveri
ng less "warmth" per square meter.
B) The Earth is farther from the sun in the winter.
C) The sun is not up as long in the winter.
D) All of the above are true.

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13) Why is the sun completely covered by the Moon during a total solar eclipse,
but not during an annular solar eclipse?
A) Because the Moon is slightly closer to the Earth during an annular eclipse th
an it is during a total eclipse.
B) Because the Moon is slightly farther from the Earth during an annular eclipse
than it is during a total eclipse.
C) Because the Moon's orbit is tilted slightly with respect to the path of the s
un, one edge of the sun is not covered if the Moon and sun don't directly line u
p.
D) The sun is completely covered in an annular eclipse. An annular eclipse is a
type of solar eclipse that occurs only once a year.

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14) What is the definition of an "Astronomical Unit" (AU)?


A) The average distance of a planet from the sun.
B) 1.5 x 10^11 meters (93 million miles).
C) The average distance of the Earth from the sun.
D) The average distance from the Earth to the moon.
E) The division of a hospital where they treat aliens.

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15) The principle "new idea" of Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Celestium w


as:
A) There was no longer a need to postulate epicycles.
B) The Earth is at the center of the solar system.
C) All the planets revolved around the sun.
D) All of the above.

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16) The deductions that planets orbit the sun in ellipses, and that the square o
f a planet's orbital period is proportional to the cube of it's distance from th
e sun, were made by:
A) Galileo
B) Nicolaus Copernicus.
C) Johannes Kepler
D) Tycho Brahe
E) Sir Isaac Newton
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17) A friend of yours states that she has discovered a previously overlooked new
planet orbiting at a distance of twice as far from the sun as the Earth. She st
ates that the orbital period of this new planet is 2years. Is this orbital data
reasonable?
A) Yes
B) No, the planet is orbiting too slowly for its distance from the sun.
C) No, the planet is orbiting too quickly for its distance from the sun.

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18) Eratosthenes determined a reasonably accurate value for the size of the Eart
h. Which of the following best describes the basic idea of his method?
A) He measured the time it took for a ship, sailing directly away from land, to
completely disappear due to the curvature of the earth. From this he calculated
the diameter of the Earth.
B) He measured the lengths of shadows at noon on the same day in two cities, one
a known distance north of the other, and then used trigonometry to calculate th
e diameter of the Earth.
C) He measured the radius of the Earth's shadow as it covered the moon during a
lunar eclipse. From this he calculated the diameter of the earth.

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19) A satellite is in a circular orbit around the Earth. The satellite orbits ov
er the equator, and takes exactly 1 day to complete one orbit. Of the following,
which is the term that would best describe this orbit?
A) Geostationary Orbit
B) Geosynchronous Orbit
C) Equatorial Orbit
D) Inclined Orbit
E) Polar Orbit

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20) If Earth-orbiting satellite SARSAT 1 is in an orbit 1/2 as far from the cent
er of the Earth as is Earth-orbiting satellite NAVSTAR 2, the gravitational forc
e of the Earth on SARSAT 1 is ___________ as great as the gravitational force of
the Earth on NAVSTAR 2.
A) twice
B) 1/2
C) four times
D) 1/4

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21) One night you look up and see Polaris, and you also note that a star that is
just on your meridian is just touching your northern horizon. What is your lati
tude if the declination of the star is 54 degrees north?
A) 54 degrees north
B) 36 degrees south
C) 36 degrees north
D) 54degrees south

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22) A spacecraft is in a high circular orbit around a planet. (By high orbit I m
ean one that is completely outside the planet's upper-most atmosphere at all tim
es.) The spacecraft runs out of fuel. What will happen to the spacecraft?(Captai
n Kirk and Mr. Scott, pay attention here!)
A) The spacecraft will slowly spiral into the planet and crash.
B) The spacecraft will remain in the same orbit.
C) The spacecraft will slowly spiral out into space.

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23) Examine the Moon in the following diagram. The horizontal line is the southe
rn horizon. (Moon size and altitude not to scale).

Given the view pictured, how long is it until there will be a Full Moon?
A) About 1 week
B) About 2 weeks.
C) About 3 weeks.
D) About 4 weeks.

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24) When is the sun directly overhead in Raleigh (at the zenith)? (Note: Raleigh
is at 35 degrees north latitude.)
A) Every day at noon.
B) Every summer day at noon.
C) At the summer solstice.
D) At the vernal equinox.
E) Never.

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25) Galileo's observations of the phases of Venus


A) proved that all the planets orbited the sun.
B) proved that Venus had retrograde motion.
C) proved that Venus orbited the sun.
D) proved that Venus was the same size as the moon.