125 Astronomy 1 Midterm Review Questions

1. Let's say we find a star that is located on the following points or circles in the sky. Then, on the same night we move to a location on Earth that is some significant distance from our first location. There will now be a different star at or on:

a. the celestial north pole
b. the zenith
c. the celestial equator
d. the celestial south pole
e. all of the above

2. The point in the sky directly above your head at any given time is called the

a. nadir
b. zenith
c. celestial pole
d. horizon point
e. bald spot

3. The celestial sphere turns once around each day because

a. the planet on which we live is rotating
b. the Earth is going around the Sun
c. the phases of the Moon
d. precession
e. everything in the universe turns around the Earth

4. When it comes to our place in the solar system today, which model do we accept?

a. geocentric
b. heliocentric
c. Ptolemaic
d. Aritotelean
e. self-centered

5. The south celestial pole and the north celestial pole lie in the sky directly above the

a. Earth's equator
b. the observer's zenith
c. ecliptic
d. Earth's axis
e. the town of Corsicana, Texas

6. Halfway between the celestial poles lies the

a. horizon
b. zenith for all observers
c. celestial equator
d. path of the Sun on any given day
e. celestial hungarian

7. A very odd friend of yours (living in Corsicana, Texas) asks you for advice (as his astronomy expert). He likes sleeping during the day, and being awake at night, and thus has taken to going out into an open field and staring at the stars for hours, while slowly chanting the names of the 92 stable elements.. But he gets very easily dizzy from watching the slow turning of the stars in the sky. Where in the sky would you advise him to look to see stars that are not turning or just barely turning in the course of a night?

a. on his horizon
b. at his zenith
c. on the celestial equator
d. at the north celestial pole
e. you can't fool me, all stars appear to turn from Corsicana, Texas

8. Some Canadian troops are sent (as part of a U.N. peacekeeping force) to a country located on the Earth's equator. At night, when homesickness makes them gaze sleeplessly at the stars, which of the following will be familiar to them (the same at the equator as in Canada):

a. the celestial poles are on the north and south points of the horizon
b. the celestial equator is overhead and passes through the zenith
c. all stars rise and set (none remain in the sky all night long)
d. all stars are above the horizon exactly half a day
e. none of the above are the same on the equator as in Canada

9. A graduate student in geology who grew up in Florida (near the southernmost tip of the United States) gets to accompany her research professor to the North Pole. What will be different at the North Pole from the way she remembers the sky in Florida?

a. the celestial pole is overhead
b. the celestial equator is on the horizon
c. the way (and whether) the stars rise or set
d. all of the above would be different from the way it is in Florida
e. all of the above (a - c) would be the same as in Florida

10. In the Northern Hemisphere, the altitude (height in degrees above the horizon) of the North Star is always roughly equal to the

a. longitude of the observer
b. latitude of the observer
c. altitude of the Sun
d. the tilt of the Earth's axis
e. the temperature at midnight

11. Someone who observes the sky every clear night in Boston for many years will NEVER get to see:

a. the south circumpolar zone
b. the north celestial pole
c. the observer's zenith point
d. the north circumpolar zone
e. the Big Dipper

12. The star that is currently closest to the North Celestial Pole is:

a. Arcturus
b. Betelgeuse
c. Polaris
d. Rigel
e. Arnold Schwarzenneger

13. As seen from the continental United States, the Big and Little Dipper

a. are below the horizon throughout the year
b. are at the zenith throughout the year
c. are on the celestial equator throughout the year
d. are in the north circumpolar zone throughout the year
e. none of the above

14. Where on Earth do stars always circle the zenith (and never rise and set)?

a. at the equator
b. at the north pole
c. at the latitude of Washington D.C.
d. everywhere
e. nowhere

15. From horizon to opposite horizon, the sky takes up how much angular distance?

a. 90 degrees
b. 180 degrees
c. 360 degrees
d. 100 degrees
e. you can't fool me, this number varies with latitude

16. The Sun's apparent path around the celestial sphere is called

a. the horizon
b. the circumpolar zone
c. the celestial equator
d. the celestial hot-zone
e. the ecliptic

17. If the Earth goes around the Sun, why is the ecliptic not lined up with the celestial equator?

a. the ecliptic is a circle fixed in the sky, but the celestial equator is different for observers at different latitudes
b. the Earth's orbit is not a circle but an ellipse
c. the Earth's axis is tilted by about 23 degrees from the vertical
d. the pull of the other planets makes the Earth wobble significantly in the course of a year
e. the land mass of the Earth is more concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere

18. Every celestial object appears to go around the Earth once a day. In addition to this motion, which celestial object has the fastest apparent motion in the sky?

a. Mars
b. the Sun
c. Venus
d. the Moon
e. the Big Dipper

19. The strip of the sky through which the Sun, the Moon, and the bright planets appear to move in the course of a year is called:

a. the zodiac
b. the celestial equator
c. the circumpolar zone
d. the horizon
e. the asteroid belt

20. The 88 sectors into which astronomers today divide the celestial sphere (the whole sky) are called:

a. zodiacs
b. constellations
c. asterisms
d. epicycles
e. celestial states

21. Within a constellation, a recognizable pattern of stars is often called:

a. a Dipper
b. a zodiac
c. an asterism
d. an ecliptic
e. a cameo

22. Which of the following is NOT an argument for showing that the Earth must be round:

a. during an eclipse of the Moon, the shadow of the Earth is always seen to be round
b. when ships travel a large distance away, we see their hulls disappear first and their masts disappear last
c. the height of the North Star changes as we travel to different latitudes
d. photographs of the Earth from space always show a round body
e. the Sun is seen blocking different constellations in the course of a year

23. Which ancient Greek thinker suggested (long before Copernicus) that the Earth is moving around the Sun?

a. Aristotle
b. Aristarchus
c. Eratosthenes
d. Hipparchus
e. Zorba

24. How did Eratosthenes measure the size of the Earth?

a. by walking about one-quarter of the way around its circumference
b. by measuring the times of sunrise in each of the four seasons
c. by determining the parallax of the Moon and finding the size of its orbit
d. by measuring the height of the Sun in the sky on the same day in two cities at different latitudes
e. by asking Aristotle who knew everything

26. When a planet temporarily moves westward in the sky over the course of several weeks or months (instead of eastward, as it typically does), we call it:

a. precession
b. ecliptic motion
c. retrograde motion
d. circumpolar motion
e. rude

27. Which of the following is NOT a result of the Earth's precession?

a. the Earth wobbles (like a spinning top) with a period of 26,000 years
b. where in the sky the Earth's axis points changes over the centuries and millennia
c. Polaris will no longer be the North Star in several thousand years
d. the Earth's axis will no longer be tilted in several thousand years
e. the signs of the zodiac most astrologers use are no longer in accord with the constellations in which the Sun is currently found over the course of the year

28. The slow tipping of the Earth's axis in a circle with a period of about 26,000 years is called:

a. precession
b. ecliptic motion
c. retrograde motion
d. deferential motion
e. revolution

29. The great astronomer of ancient times who summarized and improved a system of circles upon circles to explain the complicated motions of the planets (and published the system in a book now called The Almagest) is:

a. Hipparchus
b. Copernicus
c. Ptolemy
d. Pythagoras
e. Alfonso the Wise

30. In Ptolemy's system the planets orbit the Earth and not the Sun. How did the system explain the retrograde motion of planets like Jupiter?

a. the planets were not moving along the ecliptic but all over the celestial sphere
b. the planets moved in very elongated ellipses, and their speed in orbit changed radically over the course of a year
c. the Sun moved among the planets, and pulled them out of their circular orbits
d. the planets moved on a small circle whose center in turn circled a point near the Earth
e. you can't fool me, Ptolemy's system did not include ANY explanation of
retrograde motion

31. Based on the scientific and statistical tests of astrological predictions, which of the following statements is the most reasonable?

a. astrology has passed every test with flying colors and scientists now agree that the positions of celestial objects are very important in determining our personalities and future
b. astrology has not passed any clear scientific or statistical test and as a result, most scientists are very doubtful that it can predict anything meaningful about our lives
c. astrology has passed about half of the tests that have been devised for it, and it is very controversial; about half the scientists think it works, and the other half do not
d. no one has ever tested astrology, so it is not possible to say whether it is a useful predictive tool
e. because it was Ptolemy who wrote the books on which modern astrology is based, most scientists believe it must be correct, no matter what any tests reveal

32. The Renaissance astronomer who wrote the pioneering book that suggested the Earth probably orbits the Sun (instead of the other way around) was:

a. Newton
b. Ptolemy
c. Eratosthenes
d. Halley
e. Copernicus

33. The scientist who first devised experimental tests to demonstrate the validity of the heliocentric model of the solar system was

a. Copernicus
b. Ptolemy
c. Galileo
d. Eratosthenes
e. Lippershey

34. Which of the following was NOT done by Galileo Galilei?

a. turning the telescope to the sky and believing what it showed his eyes
b. discovering four large moons around Jupiter
c. discovering that Venus goes through phases (like the Moon)
d. resolving the Milky Way into many, many stars
e. explaining retrograde motion with the heliocentric hypothesis

35. In what fundamental way did the work of Galileo differ from his predecessors who had thought about the sky?

a. Galileo consulted many authorities before coming to scientific conclusions, instead of working on his own
b. Galileo translated the works of the ancient Greek astronomers, and relied on their wonderful abilities to think through difficult problems
c. Galileo used instruments and experiments to show him what nature was doing, instead of relying on pure logic
d. Galileo relied on the revelations of the Bible to tell him what was happening in the sky
e. Galileo believed that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and everything revolved around it

36. The 17th century astronomer who kept a roughly 20 year continuous record of the positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets was:

a. Tycho Brahe
b. Galileo Galilei
c. Isaac Newton
d. Nicolaus Copernicus
e. Jean Luc Picard

37. The scientist who formulated the three laws of planetary motion by analyzing the data on the precise location of planets in the sky was:

a. Tycho Brahe
b. Galileo Galilei
c. Johannes Kepler
d. J.C. Adams
e. Joan Quigley

38. What specific event really made it possible for the three laws of planetary motion to be discovered?

a. a brilliant comet in 1601 blazed across the sky and was seen to cross in front of Venus
b. Tycho Brahe died and his assistant was able to get full access to his data
c. Galileo's books were published in Danish and became widely available to the public
d. an alignment of all the known planets in one part of the sky called everyone's attention to them
e. the plague broke out in England and forced Isaac Newton to return home from college

39. We now know that the orbit of a stable planet around a star like the Sun is always in the shape of:

a. a circle
b. a parabola
c. a straight line
d. an ellipse
e. none of the above

40. In an ellipse, the ratio of the distance between the foci and the length of the major axis is called:

a. the eccentricity
b. the semi-major axis
c. perihelion
d. the astronomical unit
e. Newton's ratio

41. When a planet, in its orbit, is closer to the Sun, it:

a. moves slower than average
b. reflects less sunlight than average
c. feels less gravitational pull than average
d. moves faster than average
e. spins faster on its axis

42. According to Kepler's third law, there is a relationship between the time a planet takes to revolve around the Sun and its

a. size
b. period of rotation
c. distance from the Sun
d. eccentricity
e. astrological sign

43. The idea that objects (in the absence of an outside force) tend to continue doing what they are already doing is called the law of

a. eccentricity
b. inertia
c. action-reaction
d. angular momentum
e. Congressional action

44. Newton showed that to change the direction in which an object is moving, one needs to apply:

a. a force
b. an orbit
c. an inertia
d. a perigee
e. a bribe

45. Which of the following statements about forces is FALSE?

a. forces change the momentum of a body
b. forces cause an acceleration to take place
c. forces always occur in equal and opposite pairs
d. where there is no force, objects continue to move the way they were moving
e. there are places on Earth where all forces are absent

46. Which of the following has the greatest density?

a. a cubic meter of snow
b. a cubic meter of air
c. a cubic meter of astronomy textbooks
d. a cubic meter of feathers (packed tightly)
e. a cubic meter of lead

47. A single star in the process of forming starts by spinning slowly (while it is quite large and relatively cool.) As the star collapses under the pull of its own gravity, its size decreases. As a result, its rate of spinning:

a. will increase
b. will decrease
c. will stay the same
d. will either increase or decrease depending on the star's temperature
e. this question cannot be answered from the information we are given

48. An astronomy textbook weighs four pounds on the surface of the Earth. After finishing your course, you are so tired of the book, you arrange for NASA to shoot it into space. If it is now twice as far from the center of the Earth than when you were reading it, what would it weigh? (Note, assume that the book is moving away from the Earth not falling freely around it.)

a. 4 lbs
b. 8 lbs
c. 2 lbs
d. 1 lb
e. 16 lbs

49. Which of the following statements about the force of gravity is FALSE?

a. it is a universal force, which acts everywhere in space
b. its strength decreases as the square of the distance
c. its strength is inversely proportional to the mass: the more mass, the less gravity
d. the force never becomes zero
e. it causes the paths of the planets to be ellipses and not straight lines

50. To come up with the precise mathematical form of his law of gravity, Newton first had to invent the mathematical techniques that we call:

a. algebra
b. ratio and proportions
c. angular momentum
d. calculus
e. scientific notation

52. Why do astronauts (and cans of soft drink) float around in the Shuttle instead of falling?

a. the Shuttle is so far from the Earth, gravity is negligible
b. the Shuttle's gravity balances the Earth's, so that the net gravity is zero
c. the Shuttle is falling around the Earth (and everything aboard is in free fall)
d. the Shuttle has an antigravity device on board, developed by NASA
e. the rules Newton developed for gravity only hold on Earth, not once you get into space

53. Newton's reformulation of Kepler's third law allows us to measure the masses of bodies in orbit around each other, if we can measure:

a. the rotation rate of each object
b. the distances and periods of revolution
c. the eccentricities and semi-major axes
d. the force and the reaction force
e. those fig-filled cookie bars

54. When a comet like Comet Hale-Bopp comes closest to the Sun in its orbit, we say that it is at:

a. circular satellite velocity
b. the minimum angular momentum point
c. perihelion
d. apogee
e. the tail end of its journey

55. The planet whose orbit actually brings it inside the orbit of another planet is:

a. Neptune
b. Pluto
c. Earth
d. Mars
e. Mercury

56. The planet with the shortest period of revolution is:

a. Mercury
b. Pluto
c. Jupiter
d. Venus
e. you can't fool me, all the planets have the same period of revolution

57. The asteroid belt is

a. a region of icy chunks of material beyond the orbit of Pluto
b. a zone where rocky chunks orbit between Mars and Jupiter
c. a series of orbital zones around the Moon, from which fragments drop down to form craters
d. is a region around the Earth from which meteors (shooting stars) are observed to drop
e. a new fashion accessory being sold by NASA to raise funds for future missions

58. The first artificial satellite the human race lofted into orbit was called:

a. Pioneer
b. Explorer
c. Newton
d. Sputnik
e. Luna

59. According to Kepler's 2nd Law, comets (which have eccentric orbits) should spend a lot more of their time:

a. close to the planets
b. close to the Sun
c. losing angular momentum
d. far from the Sun
e. increasing the rate at which they spin

60. The minimum speed required to launch an object so that it remains the same distance above the ground and just falls around the Earth is called:

a. perigee speed
b. circular satellite velocity
c. Newtonian orbit velocity
d. the Keplerian speed
e. the speed of sound (or Mach 1)

61. Why do satellites launched into low-Earth orbits not remain there indefinitely?

a. they do not have enough speed to fall freely around the Earth
b. they tend to collide with other spacecraft and spacecraft fragments
c. they lose speed due to friction with the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere
d. they run out of fuel, and without fuel, all satellites, no matter what their orbit is, must fall
e. this is an unsolved problem, but a NASA committee has been assigned to work on it

62. To leave the gravitational pull of the Earth, and explore other planets, satellites must have at least:

a. circular satellite velocity
b. escape velocity
c. perigee velocity
d. three orbit perturbation
e. the permission of one Congressional committee

63. The planet Neptune was discovered by means of:

a. careful observations of its motion by one astronomer in England (done over most of his lifetime)
b. observations of its motion performed over many years by astronomers all over the globe
c. radio observations of its large magnetic field
d. mathematical calculations of how it was perturbing the motion of a neighbor planet
e. discrepancies in the horoscopes of famous actors and actresses; errors in the horoscopes showed astrologers that there must be another cosmic influence on their love lives

64. Credit for the discovery of Neptune is shared by two astronomers. They are:

a. Hubble and Humason
b. Kepler and Newton
c. Adams and Leverrier
d. Doppler and Wien
e. Fraknoi and Morrison

65. Small changes in the orbits of planets caused by the gravitational pull of the other planets in the solar system are called:

a. perturbation
b. reaction forces
c. foci
d. perigee pull
e. eccentricities

66. At which of the following locations on Earth is the direction we call East not clearly defined?

a. the latitude of Greenwich, England
b. the coast of the U.S. which borders on the Atlantic Ocean
c. the North Pole
d. the equator
e. the International Date Line

67. The number of degrees of arc that your location is north or south of the Earth's equator is called your:

a. latitude
b. longitude
c. declination
d. meridian
e. Yankee quotient

68. The "prime meridian" (where longitude equals zero) passes through:

a. Paris
b. New York
c. the Pacific ocean, away from all land
d. Beijing
e. Greenwich, England

69. In locating objects on the celestial sphere, we call the number of degrees east or west something is from Greenwich, England something is its:

a. latitude
b. longitude
c. declination
d. meridian
e. seasonal displacement

70. Typically, astronomers express the right ascension of a star on the sky in what units?

a. kilometers
b. hours, minutes, and seconds
c. lightyears
d. meters squared
e. quarters

71. If you want to locate someone precisely on the surface of the Earth, you specify her exact latitude and longitude. If you want to locate a star precisely on the sky, you need to specify its exact:

a. meridian and great circle
b. constellation
c. north and east point
d. right ascension and declination
e. solstice and equinox

72. What would you have to change about the Earth to stop our planet from having significantly different seasons?

a. its distance from the Sun
b. its diameter
c. the amount of water on its surface
d. the tilt of its axis
e. the orbit of the Moon around it

73. The Earth is closest to the Sun in which month of the year?

a. July
b. June
c. January
d. March
e. September

74. A "New Age" bride and groom, who are enchanted by the Sun, want to get married on the day when it is highest in the sky. If they live in the United States, around what day of the year will the wedding take place?

a. winter solstice
b. spring equinox
c. autumnal equinox
d. summer solstice
e. you can't fool me, the Sun's maximum height in the sky is roughly the same throughout the year

75. In Australia (in the Southern Hemisphere) when are the days the shortest and the nights the longest?

a. in late December
b. in late March
c. in late June
d. in late April
e. days and nights are pretty much the same length throughout the year in Australia

76. Which of the following is an important part of the reason it is hotter in summer than in winter?

a. the Earth is closer to the Sun in summer
b. the Sun's rays hit the Earth more directly in the Summer, and spread out less
c. the cloud cover over the entire surface of the Earth is much less in summer
d. the nights are much longer in summer, allowing temperatures to stabilize
e. we see the full Sun in summer, instead of one of its partial phases

77. A very rich, very shady international banker (with residences all over the globe) mysteriously disappears. Someone later mails a wide-angle photo of his body to a London newspaper, taken on June 22, showing the Sun exactly overhead at noon. What can the police deduce from this photograph about where the body is located?

a. at the North Pole
b. at the equator
c. on the Antarctic circle (67o S)
d. at the South pole
e. on the Tropic of Cancer (23o N)

78. In what location on Earth could an eager math student NOT use her solar-powered calculator at any time at all during the course of a day in June?

a. the North Pole
b. the equator
c. the South Pole
d. anywhere on the International Date Line
e. none of the above

79. Some college students decide to form a secret society that would meet each year after graduation at a time when the day and night were the same length. Which of the following would be a time they could meet?

a. January 1
b. December 22
c. September 23
d. June 22
e. they can meet at any of the above times; day and night are always roughly the same length

80. An eccentric billionaire wants to build a mansion in a location on Earth where the effect of the seasons is the least pronounced -- where summer and winter are not that different. Where should his personal astronomer advise him to build?

a. at the equator
b. at the North Pole
c. at the South Pole
d. at the Tropic of Cancer (23o N)
e. in Corsicana, Texas

81. If there really were a Santa Claus at the North Pole, what would the cycle of the seasons be like for him and Mrs. Claus?

a. pretty much the same as in the continental United States
b. six months of light, followed by six months of darkness (or at least dark twilight)
c. pretty much the reverse of the seasons in the continental U.S., with winter in June, and summer in December
d. the North Pole is always in darkness (it never sees the Sun, which is blocked by the Earth's equator)
e. the Sun only shines there during the two shopping weeks before and after the Christmas holidays

82. Taking astronomy in college ruins you for having any kind of ordinary job, so after graduation you decide to become the leader of a new religious cult. You decide to hold a big religious festival around the time that the days are shortest and the nights are longest in the United States. At what time of year will these celebrations be held?

a. in late August
b. in late December
c. in late June
d. in late March
e. in late September

83. The time it takes for the Sun to return to the same place in our sky after the Earth has rotated once is called:

a. a solar day
b. a sidereal day
c. the ante meridian time
d. a year
e. an equinox period

84. Why is there a 4-minute difference between the solar day and the sidereal day?

a. because the Earth's rotation is variable, due to the pull of the Moon
b. because the stars slowly change their orientations in the Galaxy
c. because the Earth is going around the Sun in the course of a year
d. because the Earth's axis is tilted by about 23 degrees
e. no one knows the reason; we just have to accept the difference as an unsolved mystery

85. How did the world's countries solve the problem that mean solar time varies continuously as a traveler's longitude changes?

a. they outlawed traveling long distances
b. they offered a reward and thus helped spur the invention of clocks and watches that can change the time they keep as you change longitude
c. an international convention adopted a single time zone for the entire world, so we can all be on the same time
d. the world was divided into 24 time zones, with all communities within a time zone keeping the same mean standard time
e. you can't fool me, this problem has not been solved yet

86. During the period we have daylight savings time, we

a. keep our clocks the same, but adopt shorter hours
b. add one hour to local standard time
c. add an additional time zone to the ones in the United States
d. subtract four minutes from the length of the day
e. put some of the sunshine into a special bank, so we can use it during the colder months

87. Which of the following statements about the International Date Line is correct?

a. It runs through Greenwich, England
b. When crossing from west to east, you must decrease the date by one day
c. It is the only place on Earth where the standard time always equals mean solar time
d. The time there is measured with respect to the Moon and not the Sun
e. It is a telephone service for meeting single people from other countries

88. Why was the problem of devising a workable yearly calendar so difficult on Earth?

a. the Earth's rotation period does not divide evenly into the Earth's period of revolution
b. The day is based on what the Sun does, but the year is based on what the Moon does
c. The length of the year varies from year to year
d. The calendar only works at Greenwich, England, and it gets further and further off as you move eastward in longitude
e. Various Popes of the Catholic Church disagreed about how long the day should be

89. The seven days of the week are named after:

a. the seven phases of the Moon
b. the seven main constellations through which the Moon is seen to pass in the sky
c. the seven "wandering" objects in the Sky that were visible to the ancients
d. the seven time zones of the Roman Empire
e. seven members of Julius Ceasar's family

90. The Julian calendar made the significant advance of:

a. using the Moon's motion to simplify the way the length of the year was calculated
b. dropping 12 days from the year that was in use before it
c. defining time zones for the first time in the history of the world
d. introducing the leap year, so that every fourth year had an extra day
e. allowing everyone to sleep late on Saturdays

91. When England and the American colonies finally adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, what dramatic change had to be made?

a. all the names of the months had to be changed
b. the time zones had to start in England
c. 12 days had to be dropped to bring the date and the seasons back into accord
d. the number of hours in the day had to be changed
e. everyone named Gregory had to spend almost two weeks in jail

92. What time of day (roughly) will a new moon rise?

a. at sunset
b. at about noon
c. at midnight
d. at sunrise
e. a new moon can rise at any time of day, depending on what part of the year we are in

93. A dashing Romanian count asks his sweetheart to marry him. She says she will give her reply when the Moon is full. If he asked when the Moon was at first quarter, how long will he have to wait?

a. about a month
b. about a week
c. about a day
d. about three weeks
e. about a year minus a week

94. You and some friends decide (during a party held to celebrate the Full Moon) that you cannot live without having the secret recipe for the veggie burger they serve in the cafeteria. So you decide to plan a break-in to steal the recipe from the chef's office. So that you don't get caught, you want to carry out your plan when there is no moonlight in the evening. What is the next phase of the Moon with no evening moonlight (i.e. when the Moon rises roughly at midnight or later)?

a. new moon
b. the next full moon
c. first quarter
d. a very slim waxing crescent
e. third quarter

95. A friend of yours who takes her astronomy class very seriously challenges you to a contest to find the thinnest crescent moon you can find just after new moon? What time of day is best for looking for this very thin crescent?

a. midnight
b. noon
c. late morning
d. 3 to 4 am
e. just as the sun is setting, or just after

96. A serial killer from a strange cult that follows astrology only kills his victims when the Moon is full. He leaves a note on the body of his latest victim, explaining that the murder was committed when the Moon was rising. What time of day did the murder take place?

a. roughly around sunset
b. roughly around sunrise
c. roughly about midnight
d. roughly around noon
e. you'd need to cast a horoscope to know the answer; we don't have enough

97. A writer of mystery novels wants to portray something gruesome happening just as the full moon is at its highest point in the sky. What time of day will this gruesome event occur?

a. roughly noon
b. roughly midnight
c. roughly at sunset
d. roughly at sunrise
e. that depends on the season of the year

98. Why does the Moon show phases in the course of a month?

a. clouds get in the way of the Moon's light and cover up parts of it
b. the Earth's shadow falls on the Moon to different degrees as the Moon goes around
c. the angle the Moon makes with the Sun changes and we see differing amounts of reflected sunlight
d. the light of the Earth is reflected to different degrees as the Moon turns around it
e. because without phases there could be no vampire and werewolf stories

99. The period of the moon's rotation on its axis is

a. much longer than its revolution around the Earth
b. much shorter than its revolution around the Earth
c. the same as its revolution around the Earth
d. longer or shorter depending on what part of the year we are in
e. zero

100. During what phase of the Moon is the Moon up only during the night hours and all night long?

a. new moon
b. first quarter
c. third quarter
d. full moon
e. waxing crescent

101. A friend of yours (who has not had the benefit of an astronomy course) tells you about a report he has read in a tabloid newspaper. They claim that on the dark side of the Moon, which is never in sunlight, there is a secret base of aliens who cannot stand light, and who send UFO's to Earth under the cover of darkness. Ignoring the UFO claim for a moment, what is the scientific error in this story?

a. all sides of the Moon are illuminated by sunlight in the course of a month; there is no dark side
b. the space program of the world's countries has landed thousands of spacecraft on the dark side of the Moon
c. the dark side of the Moon is the one that faces the Earth and our telescopes would have spotted such a base
d. since the moon is turning, we see all sides of it from Earth in the course of a month
e. there are no scientific problems with that story

102. If you could somehow return to the Earth in many millions of years, which of the following will be different?

a. the length of the year
b. the fact that the Moon shows phases
c. the fact that the Earth has seasons
d. the length of the month
e. none of the above

103. When the Sun and Moon are lined up and pull together, the tides they raise are called:

a. neap tides
b. spring tides
c. low tides
d. differential tides
e. prolate tides

104. What phase of the Moon must it be to have a solar eclipse?

a. full moon
b. new moon
c. first quarter
d. third quarter
e. it can be any phase as long as the orbits are lined up

105. What phase of the Moon must it be to have a lunar eclipse?

a. full moon
b. new moon
c. first quarter
d. third quarter
e. it can be any phase as long as the orbits are lined up

106. Which of the following statements about the modern study of astronomy is FALSE?

a. astronomers generally study objects that lie beyond the atmosphere of the Earth
b. astronomers realize that what they know today is only a "progress report" and not the final word about how the universe works
c. astronomers can now visit most of the objects that they study
d. much astronomical research involves decoding light and other radiation from cosmic objects
e. astronomers, like other scientists, make models of the phenomena they want to

107. In science, the ultimate judge of whether a hypothesis is correct or not is:

a. whether it fits in with earlier ideas and theories (especially those of the ancient Greeks)
b. whether it results in a product that can be sold for a lot of money
c. whether the person proposing it has a professorship at a distinguished university
d. whether it can be tested and confirmed by experiments and observations
e. whether a majority of scientists support it in votes taken every 2 years

108. Which of the following is the largest?

a. hundreds of thousands
b. billions
c. millions
d. thousands
e. the cost of our textbook

109. If the population of human beings keeps growing on this planet, estimates are that we will soon have more than ten billion members of our species on the increasingly crowded surface of the Earth. How would you express this number in scientific notation?

a. 10 x 9
b. 109
c. 10 x 106
d. 1010
e. this number is too large to be expressed in scientific notation

110. You are observing a star about 946 trillion km (100 lightyears) away. How old is the most recent information you can get about this star?

a. 946 trillion seconds
b. 300,000 seconds
c. 100 seconds
d. 100 years
e. This can't be determined without having more information.

111. Of the following, which is the largest?

a. the Sun
b. Jupiter
c. Comet Halley
d. the universe
e. a galaxy

112. A galaxy is approximately 100 million LY away, where each LY is 9.46 x 1012 km. Express its distance in km, using scientific notation:

a. 9.46 x 1012 km
b. 946 x 1012 km
c. 9.46 x 108 km
d. 100 x 109.46 km
e. 9.46 x 1020 km

113. For complicated reasons, having to do with an astronomy textbook being dropped on the head of an astronomy professor from the 4th floor window of a student dormitory, you find yourself in the Dean's Office one day. Just then, an eccentric but rich alumnus stops by and says he is willing to donate $237,000 to the college, if the Dean can write the number in scientific notation. Alas, the Dean majored in political science in college, and took as few science and math courses as possible. He looks to you for help. What answer would you whisper to him?

a. $ 2.37 x 100
b. $ 237 x 101
c. $ 102.37
d. $ 2.37 x 105
e. $ 2.37 x 109

114. The closest star to the Sun is roughly how many lightyears away?

a. 4
b. 400
c. 9 trillion
d. 1
e. 186,000

115. The main reason astronomers can reconstruct what was happening in the universe 8 billion years ago is that:

a. such events left marks in the fossil record on Earth
b. our theories about such events are so good, they do not require any observational or experimental proof
c. our modern telescopes can detect light (and other radiation) that left cosmic objects that long ago, and has been on its way to us ever since
d. ancient astronomers left excellent written records of sky events
e. UFO's have brought us information from alien astronomers who lived that long ago

116. One thing that a space traveler in our solar system would easily notice that distinguishes the Earth from all the other planets is:

a. it has an atmosphere
b. it has abundant liquid water on its surface
c. it has a moon (satellite)
d. it orbits (revolves around) the Sun
e. it is much, much larger than any other planet

117. The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is called:

a. an astronomical unit
b. a lightyear
c. a lightsecond
d. a local group unit
e. an orbital period

118. All the stars that we can see with the unaided eye are:

a. in our solar system, just beyond the orbit of Pluto
b. in a sphere about 10 LY in diameter, centered on the Sun
c. part of the Milky Way Galaxy
d. small pieces of dust and dirt burning up in the Earth's atmosphere
e. so far away that their light takes trillions of years to reach us

119. Which of the following statements about the Milky Way Galaxy is FALSE?

a. it contains hundreds of billions of stars
b. the Sun is roughly in its center, and the other stars go around us
c. it contains not only stars, but also raw material for making future generations of stars
d. it looks like a giant, flat frisbee with a ball in the middle
e. there is evidence it contains dark matter, material which we can only observe by its gravitational pull on other material

120. The small cluster of galaxies that includes our own Milky Way is called

a. the Milky Way cluster
b. the Andromeda cluster
c. the Small Magellanic Cloud
d. the Virgo cluster
e. the Local Group

121. The most empty region (the one with the lowest density of material) we know is

a. the air in the typical astronomy classroom
b. the center of the Sun
c. interstellar space (the regions between stars)
d. intergalactic space (the regions between galaxies)
e. your brain, just as you are about to start your astronomy midterm

122. The smallest particles into which any type of matter can be subdivided which still retains its chemical properties are called:

a. protons
b. molecules
c. nuclei
d. micrometers
e. electrons

123. An element, like oxygen, is defined by the

a. number of neutrons in its nucleus
b. number of molecules it contains
c. number of protons in its nucleus
d. number of other elements it can interact with
e. code number assigned to it by the C.I.A.

124. If we compress the history of the universe since the Big Bang into a single calendar year, then human being first develop during which month of that year?

a. January
b. April
c. July
d. October
e. December

125. The most abundant element in the universe is:

a. hydrogen
b. carbon
c. iron
d. silicon
e. ytterbium