Astr 2100 Descriptive Astronomy
Sample Questions for Test 1


  1. What physical property of the Earth is responsible for the seasons?
  2. What is the angle between the line connecting the Earth to the Sun and that connecting the Earth to the Moon if the Moon is in the 1st quarter phase?
  3. Which phase of the Moon corresponds to a Solar eclipse?
  4. Which phase of the Moon corresponds to a Lunar eclipse?
  5. What is the declination of the Pole Star?
  6. What are the Right Ascensions and declinations of the two points where the ecliptic and celestial equator cross?
  7. Which is furthest from us, the next closest planet, the next closest star, or the next closest galaxy?
  8. If you stand on the equator, whereabouts in the sky would you find the North Celestial Pole?
  9. If you stand on the Earth's North Pole, whereabouts in the sky would you find the North Celestial Pole?
  10. Because of the rotation of the Earth once every 24 hours any star in the sky appears to move from east to west. By what angle does it move in five minutes?
  11. Which is the closest star to the Earth?
  12. If you see a full moon rising on March 21st, what time is it?
  13. If you were to see the Moon due south of your at 9 pm tonight, at what time will it be when the Moon is due south of you tomorrow?
  14. At what time of the day or night would you be most likely to see a lunar eclipse?
  15. What is the point in the sky which is directly above you called?
  16. If you observe the Sun directly above you on the date of the Summer Solstice, where are you?
  17. Where in the sky is the star Polaris for an observer in Rio de Janeiro?
  18. Turlock is located at a latitude of 37½o N. What is the declination of the most southerly star we can see on at least one night of the year?
  19. Turlock is located at a latitude of 37½o N. What is the declination of the most southerly star we can see on every night of the year?
  20. Turlock is located at a latitude of 37½o N. What is the altitude of the Sun at noon on the date of the Summer Solstice?
  21. Turlock is located at a latitude of 37½o N. What is the altitude of the Sun at noon on the date of the Winter Solstice?
  22. Turlock is located at a latitude of 37½o N. What is the altitude of the Sun at noon on the date of one of the equinoxes?
  23. What is the ecliptic?
  24. List, in order, all of the phases of the Moon.
  25. You see a full moon directly overhead. What time is it?
  26. You see a full moon on the western horizon. What time is it?
  27. Excluding the Earth, on how many planets has man set foot?
  28. Excluding the Earth, on how many planets has we landed a spacecraft?
  29. How far is one light year? Give both a definition and the distance in miles.
  30. How far is one astronomical unit? Give both a definition and the distance in miles.
  31. If a star is 100 light years from us, how long does it take light to get from this star to us?
  32. What is the Earth's orbital speed around the Sun?
  33. If it is 2 x 1015 miles (about 300 light years) to a star, and you can travel at 6 x 105 mph, how many years would it take you to get there?
  34. If the Moon is between the Earth and the Sun, which phase do we see?
  35. What do you see if the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth?
  36. What is the approximate date of the autumnal equinox?
  37. What is the approximate date of the winter solstice?
  38. In the middle of summer where does the Sun set?
  39. During a single night, which way does the Moon move across the sky, and why?
  40. From night to night, which way does the Moon move across the sky, and why?
  41. Which day has the longest daylight period in Australia?
  42. What is a constellation?
  43. What does the term solstice mean?
  44. What does the term equinox mean?
  45. Despite the beliefs of the flat earth proponents, even the ancients knew that the Earth was round? How did they know this? (might need a little research)
  46. Why are the time zones on the Earth separated by 15o? (Ignore political divisions.)
  47. The longitude of Moscow is -37o 35'. What is the longitude of a city where the Sun rises exactly 6 hours later?
  48. The latitude of Rome, Italy is 42º N. For an observer there
    1. what is the declination of the most southerly star which can be seen every night of the year?
    2. what is the declination of the most northerly star which can not be seen on any night of the year?