You are on page 1of 5

Astronomy 4 Sect 4217 Name__Debi Stone

Homework/Exercise 1
(due Tuesday, February 2 at Noon. It can be turned in earlier, also)

1. List these following 10 bodies/areas in order from their distance from Earth outward (closest
being #1):
Large Magellanic Cloud, Jupiter, Oort cloud, Moon, Canis Major Dwarf, Sun
Andromeda Galaxy, Kuiper Belt, Quasar 3C 273, Alpha Centauri. (Hint: Jupiter is 5.2 au
from the Sun)

1.____Moon_, 2.___Sun__, 3.__ Jupiter_4.____ Kuiper Belt _,

5.___Oort Cloud _, 6.___Alpha Centauri_ 7.__Canis Major Dwarf__,

8.__ Large_Magellanic_Cloud _ 9._ Andromeda Galaxy 10._Quasar 3C 273___

2. Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to the Solar System. It is 4.3 light years away.
How far is Alpha Centauri in miles and au’s? Show your work.

1 light year is equal to 5,880,000,000,000 miles or 5.88 x1012 miles

1 light year is 63,240 AU's
1AU = 93 x106 miles
Alpha Centauri is 4.3 X (5.88x1012)=25.284 x1012 miles away
Alpha Centauri is 4.3 X 63,240 = 271,932 AU's away

3. The Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.2 million light years from the Milky Way Galaxy.
What is its distance in miles and au’s? Show your work.

Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.2 x 106 X 5.88x1012= 12.936 x1018 miles

Milky Way Galaxy to the Andromeda Galaxy is 2.2 x 106 X 63240 = 139524 x106 AU's

4. Explain why the Milky Way (our galaxy) that you see in the night sky looks like a band of
Phrased another way, why does our galaxy, from our point of view, not look like other spiral
Be specific.
It looks like a band of light because we are in the middle of it, we can't see the actual shape of
the galaxy from within the galaxy. We are looking at the plane of the galaxy, as we would if
we were in a pool, looking at water.
5. Name any 5 galaxies which are in the Local Group.

1.__Milky Way Galaxy___ 2. __Andromeda Galaxy___

3.__ Canis Major Dwarf___ 4. _Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy___

5.__Megallanic Cloud Galaxies, Large and Small___

6. Define the following terms: Book Definitions. Class Note Definitions. Internet Definitions.

a. Satellite- An object that revolves around a planet. Bodies that orbit a planet.

b. Star-A sphere of gas shining under its own power; massive enough to support the
fusion of hydrogen to helium in the interior. A Big, Hot, Ball of Gas

c. Major Planet-Any of the eight largest objects revolving around the Sun, or similar
objects that orbit other stars. Unlike stars, planets do not, for the most part, give off
their own light but only reflect the light of their parent star. Spherical in shape, can
clear their orbit of other bodies. can have satellites.

d. Solar System-The system of the Sun and the planets, their satellites, asteroids, comets,
KBO's (Kuiper Belt objects) and other objects revolving around the Sun. The system of
the Sun. The Sun and the bodies that orbit it.

e. Minor Planet-Asteroids- Stony or metallic objects orbiting the Sun that are smaller
than a major planet but that show no evidence of an atmosphere or of other activity
associated with comets. The Asteroid Belt is the region of the Solar System between
Mars and Jupiter in which most asteroids are located. The main belt, where the orbits
are generally the most stable, extends from 2.2 to 3.3 AU from the Sun. Meteoroids
are defined as particles or chunks of typically rocky or metallic material in space
before any encounter with the earth. Objects that revolve around the Sun and are
smaller and non-spherical in shape because their gravity is low and they are not forced
into a spherical shape by gravitational forces. There are many minor planets between
Mars and Jupiter, in the Asteroid Belt. Minor planets are also known as asteroids,
planetoids, and meteoroids.

f. Star System-A Star and it's planets, and bodies gravitationally bound orbiting each

g. Galaxy-A large assemblage of stars; a typical galaxy contains millions to hundreds of

billions of stars. The Galaxy to which our Solar System and other Star Systems belong
is called the Milky Way Galaxy. Millions to hundreds of billions of star systems
gravitationally bound.
h. Comet-A small body of icy and dusty matter that revolves about the Sun. When a
comet comes near the Sun, some of its material vaporizes, forming a large head of
tenuous gas and often a tail. Dirty ice-balls or icy dirt-balls. Most comets originate
from Neptune outward in an area called the Kuiper Belt.

i. Light Year-The distance light travels in a vacuum in one year; 1LY=9.46 X 1012km, or
about 6X1012miles. Light Year is a measure of distance not time.

j. Astronomical Unit- The distance between the Earth and the Sun was the original
definition of an astronomical unit. It takes 8 minutes for light to travel from the Sun
to the Earth. 1 AU is 92,955,877.6 miles. Originally an AU was meant to be the semi-
major axis of the orbit of the Earth; now defined as the semi-major axis of the orbit of
a hypothetical body with the mass and period that Gauss assumed for the Earth. The
semi-major axis of the orbit of the Earth is actually 1.000000230 AU.

k. Universe-The totality of all matter, radiation, and space; everything accessible to our
observations. The universe is all the galaxies and the space in between. There are a
million times more galaxies than there are grains of sand on every beach in the world.

l. Canis Major Dwarf - The Canis Major Dwarf galaxy is located in the same part of the
sky as the constellation Canis Major. The galaxy contains a relatively high percentage
of red giant stars, and is thought to contain an estimated one billion stars in all.
The Canis Major dwarf galaxy is classified as an irregular galaxy and is now thought
to be the closest neighboring galaxy to our location in the Milky Way, being located
about 25,000 light-years away from our Solar System and 42,000 light-years from the
Galactic Center. It has a roughly elliptical shape and is thought to contain as many
stars as the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy, the previous contender for closest
galaxy to our location in the Milky Way. Canis Major is a Dwarf Galaxy, it is the
closet to the Milky Way Galaxy. It is pulling apart and will eventually be absorb by the
Milky Way Galaxy. It is colliding with the MWG, and it is being broken apart by the
gravity in the MWG.

m. Sun -The star about which the Earth and other planets revolve. The Sun is the star
that the Earth rotates. It is an average sized star. Stars that we see at night are bigger,
brighter, and hotter than or sun. The Sun is approximately 880,000 miles in diameter,
where the Earth is only 8000 miles in diameter. Over 1100 Earths can fit across the
diameter of the Sun. Temperature on the outer part of the Sun is 11,000 degrees F, the
core is about 20 million degrees F. The Sun shines through fusion, and fusion occurs
at a minimum of 10 million degrees. The Sun is held together by gravity. The Sun is a
ball due to the force of gravity pushing in towards the center. The composition of the
Sun is 75% Hydrogen Gas, 23% Helium Gas, and 2% of all other elements on the
Element Table.
n. Science- The procedure scientists follow to understand the natural world: (1)the
observation of phenomena or the results of experiments; (2) the formulation of
hypotheses that describe these phenomena and are consistent with the body of
knowledge available; (3) the testing of these hypotheses by noting whether or not they
adequately predict and describe new phenomena or the results of new experiments;
and (4) the modification or rejection of hypotheses that are not confirmed by
observation or experiment. The knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general
truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through
scientific method;
such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and
its phenomena. An organized body of knowledge gained through the process of the
"Scientific method." The "Scientific Method" is defined as Observation, Hypothesis,
Testing, and Theory. Theories can NEVER be proven to be true, they can be proven to
be false.

7. Discuss why astronomers use units like "light years" and "au's" instead of units like miles and
Units such as miles and kilometers are far too small and would require numbers of such
large quantities they would be impossible to work with. AU's and Light Years represent large
amounts, so smaller more manageable numbers can be used with them.

8. Why do you think that when you look at the stars at night, some are brighter than others?
Think of at least 3 reasons.
Most of the stars we see at night are bigger, brighter, and much hotter than our sun. Many of
the stars we see at night that are bright are actually the ones that are dying. Some are closer
than others as well.

9. Assume you travel to the Alpha Centauri star system and look back at the Solar System with
your naked eye. What would the Solar System look like? Would you see the Earth? Would you
see Jupiter? Why or why not? Our Solar System would be a pinpoint of light. We wouldn't see
the Earth or Jupiter. The distance is too great for the naked eye to make out anything more
than dots in the sky.

10. Explain why the largest bodies in the Universe are spherical while smaller ones are a variety
of shapes. The largest bodies in the Universe are spherical because they have a gravity
pressing them from all sides. The greater the mass of an object, the greater the gravitational
force on it. Smaller objects, with less mass, have a lesser gravitational pressure against them.
It reuires great mass with huge gravitational force to create a spherical body.