2. What factor determines whether a star will become a neutron star or a black hole at the end of its life?
A. MS lifetime B. density C. temperature D. luminosity
3. How do planets “shine?”
A. Nuclear fusion B. Reflection of light from stars C. Alien lightbulbs D. Lightning from
4. If the sun were three times as far away, its luminosity as measured on Mars would be:
A. unchanged B. three times as much C. one-third as much D. nine times as much E. oneninth as much
5. If the sun were three times as far away, its apparent brightness as measured on Mars would be:
A. unchanged B. 3 times as much C. 1/3 as much D. 9 times as much E. 1/9 as much
6. The majority of what we know about stars comes from what information?
A. The light they emit B. Seismic analysis C. Gravitational waves D. The Apollo missions
7. Which planets have rings?
A. Only Saturn B. Only the ice giants C. Only the gas giants D. All of the outer planets
8. Heavier beagles are more attractive than lighter beagles. Which of Newton’s laws tells us this weird but
A. 1st Law B. 2nd Law C. 3rd Law D. Law of Universal Gravitation
9. How would your weight on the planet Pluto compare to your weight on the planet Earth?
A. Smaller on Pluto B. Larger on Pluto C. The same D. Impossible to determine E. PLUTO
ISN’T A PLANET SO THIS QUESTION IS NONSENSE
10. Annie Jump Cannon was an astronomer who categorized which type of object?
A. Stars B. Planets C. Asteroids D. Comets
11. Which of the following is closest in size to a neutron star?
A. a red giant B. the earth C. a mouse D. the island of Manhattan
12. The process by which the stars maintain an internal balance (i.e. don’t collapse or explode) is called
A. the ideal gas law B. electrostatic equilibrium C. hydrostatic equilibrium D. portastatic
13. A planetary nebula is
A. the remnants of the explosion created by the collapse of the iron core in a massive star B. what is
left when a white dwarf explodes as a supernova C. a shell of gas ejected from a star late in its life
D. the cloud from which protostars form
14. The actual burning of our skin that can be caused by the sun’s light alerts us to the presence of:
A. UV radiation B. X-rays C. White light D. Infrared radiation
15. How is the sun generating its energy right now?
A. Compression B. Nuclear fusion C. Differentiation D. Alien lightbulbs
16. The deepest hole in the earth doesn’t even come close to getting into the core. What’s the main tool
scientists use to learn about the composition of the inside of the earth?
A. Nanoprobes B. Magnetic field lines C. Surface rocks D. Seismic (earthquake) waves
17. The reasons sunspots appear dark is related to the sun’s magnetic field. Magnetic field lines bunch up
and cause which of the following in the sunspot regions:
A. relatively hot spots B. relatively cold spots C. relatively iron-rich spots D. relatively cloudy
18. While there is to true “end” to our atmosphere, the generally agreed-upon border between earth’s
atmosphere and the rest of space is called:
A. the Fermi line B. the Karman line C. the Barney line D. the Wesley line
19. Which two planets have rotation axes that point in different directions from the rest of the planets in
our solar system?
A. Neptune and Mars B. Uranus and Saturn C. Mercury and Jupiter D. Venus and Uranus
20. Based on their colors, which of the following stars is hottest?
A. Archenar (blue) B. Betelgeuse (red) C. Capella (yellow) D. Arcturus (orange)
21. Stars like the sun probably don’t form iron cores during their evolution because
A. their gravity isn’t strong enough to hold in heavy elements like iron B. their cores never get hot
enough for them to make iron C. the iron they make is fused into sciencium D. all of their iron
gets exploded out into a planetary nebula
22. What will happen to the Milky Way in approximately 4 billion years?
A. it will collide with the Andromeda galaxy B. it will be overrun with stellar black holes, which will
tear it apart C. it will all get pulled into the supermassive black hole at its center D. it will run
out of fuel and die
23. Approximately how old is our solar system?
A. 5 million years B. 5 billion years C. 5 trillion years D. much longer than any of these!
24. When does a protostar officially become a star?
A. after round one B. after nuclear fusion begins C. when it begins to shed its outermost layers
D. after a helium flash
25. Where does the element gold come from?
A. Supernova explosions B. Helium flashes C. Standard main-sequence fusion of very high-mass
stars D. Black hole CME’s
1. Why doesn’t Mercury have any moons?
2. What is the main factor that determines which evolutionary path stars take?
3. Why did humans evolve to see electromagnetic radiation in the 400-700 nm range of wavelengths (note
that this range is what we call “visible light”)?
Video answer – minimum length of one minute (no maximum!):
What’s the coolest (no pun intended) thing you learned about astronomy this semester, and why?