Practice Questions for Astronomy I – EXAM 1

1. What is the maximum number of planets readily visible to the

naked eye on a given night?

a.  1

b.  2

c.  3

d.  4

e.  5

2. Planets

a.  move rapidly across the sky relative to the stars.

b.  are stationary relative to the stars.

c.  all move at the same rate relative to the stars.

d.  move slowly relative to the stars.

e.  can appear anywhere in the sky.

3. The Moon

a.  may appear anywhere in the sky.

b.  always appears within a few degrees of the zodiac.

c.  always appears within a few degrees of the celestial

equator.

d.  generally appears opposite the Sun.

4. The most readily observed motion of a celestial object is

produced by

a.  the motion of the planets across the sky.

b.  the rotation of the Earth.

c.  the revolution of the Earth.

d.  the motion of the Sun around the galaxy.

5. An astronomical unit is the

a.  distance from the Earth to the Moon.

b.  distance from the Earth to the Sun.

c.  distance from the Earth to the nearest star.

d.  distance light travels in one year.

e.  circumference of the Earth.

6. Which of the following statements about planets is FALSE?

a.  none are visible to observers on the Earth

b.  they move relative to the stars

c.  they are found along the zodiac

d.  they do not twinkle as stars do

7. Where must an observer be located on the Earth to view the

entire sky over the course of a year?

a.  the north pole

b.  the south pole

c.  the equator

d.  anywhere on the Earth

8. Diurnal motions are caused by

a.  the rapid rotations of heavenly bodies.

b.  the motion of the Moon about the Earth.

c.  the motion of the Sun about the Earth.

d.  the motion of the Earth on its rotation axis.

e.  the precession of the Earth's axis.

9. Suppose you are on a strange planet. Since you have had an

astronomy class at the university, you are aware of the daily

motion of stars about a fixed point in the sky. Furthermore,

you notice that this fixed point is 30 degrees above the

horizon. You then deduce that your latitude on this planet is

a.  .

b.  15ø.

c.  30ø.

d.  45ø.

e.  60ø.

10. Precession is

a.  the accuracy with which numbers are given in astronomy.

b.  the slow motion of the Earth's rotation axis on the

celestial sphere.

c.  the apparent backward motion of planets on the celestial

sphere.

d.  the daily eastward motion of the Sun around the celestial

sphere.

11. Planet X has its rotation axis perpendicular to its orbital

plane. Its seasons would be

a.  shorter than those on Earth.

b.  longer than those on Earth.

c.  the same as those on Earth.

d.  constant.

12. If a solar eclipse occured 2 weeks ago, what would be the phase

of the Moon today?

a.  first quarter

b.  full

c.  third quarter

d.  new

e.  waxing crescent

13. Eclipses do not occur each month because

a.  the Moon is always in the ecliptic.

b.  the Moon is never in the ecliptic.

c.  the Earth's axis is tilted to the ecliptic.

d.  the Moon's orbit is in the ecliptic.

e.  the Moon's orbit is not in the ecliptic.

14. In order for a solar eclipse to occur, the Moon must be

a.  near new Moon.

b.  near first or last quarter.

c.  high in the sky.

d.  near full Moon.

15. The length of the tropical year is

a.  equal to the length of the Earth's sidereal period.

b.  equal to the length of the Earth's synodic period.

c.  the time interval from one vernal equinox to the next.

d.  twelve lunar months.

16. If the Moon did NOT rotate we would observe

a.  the same as we now observe.

b.  only the lunar back side.

c.  the lunar north polar region.

d.  both the front and back side of the Moon.

17. Aristotle

a.  was the first great observational astronomer.

b.  stated physical laws and then attempted to use them to

explain how the universe works.

c.  discovered the first four elements in the periodic table of

elements.

d.  taught Plato the basic laws of nature.

18. Ptolemy

a.  invented calculus and used it to predict the positions of

the planets at any given time.

b.  wrote books summarizing the astronomical knowledge of

earlier cultures.

c.  was the first of the great Greek astronomers.

d.  was the first to detect stellar parallax.

19. The Almagest was written by

a.  Plato

b.  Aristotle

c.  Hipparchus

d.  Ptolemy

e.  Pythagorus

20. The reason Copernicus became a "heliocentrist" was that

a.  the evidence was overwhelmingly strong.

b.  the evidence was weak but gaining strength.

c.  it was philosophically pleasing to him.

d.  the laws of physics as then understood indicated a

heliocentric universe.

21. Which one of the following statements about the Copernican

model is FALSE?

a.  it was more accurate than the Ptolemaic system in

predicting planetary motions

b.  relative planetary distances could be deduced from it

c.  relative planetary speeds could be determined from it

d.  retrograde motion could be easily explained by it

e.  none: all of the above statements are true

22. Tycho Brahe's principal contribution to astronomy was

a.  his noble blood.

b.  his suggested model for the solar system (which had a fixed

Earth with the Sun revolving about it but the rest of the

c.  the accuracy of his observations and the completeness of

his records.

d.  his choice of Galileo as an assistant.

23. Which of the following is a statement of Kepler's first law?

a.  planets move in perfect circles with the Sun at the center

b.  planets move along an elliptical path with the Sun at the

center

c.  planets move along an elliptical path with the Sun at one

of the foci

d.  planets move along an elliptical path with the Earth at one

of the foci

24. In simple language, Kepler's second law means that

a.  a planet moves more rapidly when near the Sun than when

farther away.

b.  planets close to the Sun have shorter periods than those

farther away.

c.  the Sun is at the center of planetary orbits.

d.  slowly moving planets are close to the Sun.

25. In non-mathematical terms, Kepler's third law says that

a.  a planet moves more rapidly when near the Sun than when

farther away.

b.  planets close to the Sun have shorter periods than those

farther away.

c.  the Sun is at the center of planetary orbits.

d.  slowly moving planets are close to the Sun.

26. Who is often considered to be the first truly modern scientist?

a.  Brahe

b.  Kepler

c.  Copernicus

d.  Aristotle

e.  Galileo

27. Which of the following did Galileo NOT observe?

a.  sunspots

b.  the moons of Mars

c.  the phases of Venus

d.  the craters on the Moon

28. Which of the following has the greatest mass?

a.  100 lbs of goose feathers

c.  a 100 lb person

d.  they all have the same mass

29. Acceleration is defined as

a.  the rate of change of velocity.

b.  the rate of change of position.

c.  the rate of change of distance.

d.  how fast an object moves.

e.  how fast an object changes position.

30. Which of the following would NOT occur if the Earth's mass were

doubled? (NOTE: the radius remains the same)

c.  the surface gravity would double

d.  the escape velocity would increase

31. While on the Moon, the Apollo astronauts demonstrated Galileo's

experiment at the Leaning Tower of Pisa by dropping a feather

and a hammer. They reached the ground at the same time because

a.  the force of gravity is larger on the feathers than on the

hammer.

b.  the force of gravity has no effect on either object.

c.  the acceleration of each object is the same.

d.  the astronauts showed Galileo's experiment to be false.

32. Take three identical bricks; strap two of them together. Which

statement is true?

a.  the combined bricks, when dropped, will fall twice as fast

as the single brick

b.  the combined bricks, when dropped, will fall four times as

fast as the single brick due to the inverse square law of

gravity

c.  the gravitational force between the Earth and the combined

bricks is twice as strong as the gravitational force

between the Earth and the single brick

d.  the gravitational force between the Earth and the combined

bricks is the same as the gravitational force between the

Earth and the single brick

33. If in a violent moment you kick a wall, your foot will hurt.

This is best explained by

a.  Newton's first law of motion.

b.  Newton's second law of motion.

c.  Newton's third law of motion.

d.  the universal law of gravity.

34. Which of the following statements about the Earth's orbit is

FALSE?

a.  The orbit is elliptical

b.  The average distance to between the Earth and the Sun is 1

A. U.

c.  The orbital velocity is constant

d.  the period of the orbit is 1 year

35. The escape velocity from a planet's surface depends upon

a.  your mass and the planet's mass.

c.  the planet's mass and radius.

d.  your mass and the planets orbital period.

e.  the planet's mass and orbital period.

ANSWERS for Astronomy I  -- Practice EXAM 1

1. e

2. d

3. b

4. b

5. b

6. a

7. c

8. d

9. c

10. b

11. d

12. b

13. e

14. a

15. c

16. d

17. b

18. b

19. d

20. c

21. a

22. c

23. c

24. a

25. b

26. e

27. b

28. d

29. a

30. a

31. c

32. c

33. c

34. c

35. c