Calling All Astronomers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianW, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    I’m compiling the world, waiting for my computer to come back, so I came up with a little astronomy quiz.

    True or False:

    * A waxing moon never shares the sky with a setting sun on the horizon.

    * A waning moon never shares the sky with a rising sun on the horizon.

    * A waxing moon always shares the sky with a rising sun on the horizon.

    * A waning moon always shares the sky with a setting sun on the horizon.

    * A waxing moon never shares the sky with a rising sun on the horizon.

    * A waning moon never shares the sky with a setting sun on the horizon.

    * Venus is biggest and brightest when it is on our side of the sun.

    * Venus is biggest and brightest when it is on the far side of the sun.

    * Jupiter is biggest and brightest when it is on our side of the sun.

    * Jupiter is biggest and brightest when it is on the far side of the sun.

    * The moon is moving farther away from Earth, and it will eventually leave Earth’s orbit.

    * The moon is moving closer to Earth, and it will eventually hit the Earth.

    * The moon is moving farther away from Earth, but it will eventually stop at some point in a fixed orbit.

    * The moon is moving closer to Earth, but it will eventually stop at some point in a fixed orbit.

    * The moon is fixed in its orbit, and is not moving closer to or farther away from Earth.

    * Comets have tails because of something called “solar wind.”

    * Comets have tails because they are moving so fast.

    * The sun’s atmosphere is many times hotter than its surface.

    * The sun’s surface is many times hotter than its atmosphere.

    * We can put a geosynchronous satellite directly over any spot on Earth.

    * We can put a geosynchronous satellite directly over any spot on Earth in the Northern Hemisphere only.

    * Eventually, a fixed half of the Earth will never be able to see the moon in the sky.

    * Days on Earth are growing longer than 24 hours.

    * Days on Earth are getting shorter than 24 hours.

    * Days on Earth are fixed at 24 hours, barring the occasional recalibrating nudge of a comet or asteroid.

    * It takes the Earth 23 hours and fifty six minutes (to the nearest minute) to make a complete 360-degree rotation.

    * It takes the Earth 24 hours even (to the nearest minute) to make a complete 360-degree rotation.

    * It takes the Earth 24 hours and four minutes (to the nearest minute) to make a complete 360-degree rotation.

    * The night sky looks different in the Northern Hemisphere than it does in the Southern Hemisphere.

    * The night sky looks different in the Western Hemisphere than it does in the Eastern Hemisphere.

    * The night sky looks the same all over the world.

    * The phase of the moon varies, depending on which time zone you are in.

    * Scientists can measure the distance to some stars by measuring the parallax distortion created when the star is seen from two different vantage points.

    * Scientists can create a 3-D view of a nebula or galaxy by taking pictures from two different vantage points.

    * The Earth’s circumference can be estimated by simultaneously measuring the shadows of two identical objects separated only by 20 degrees of longitude.

    * The Earth’s circumference can be estimated by simultaneously measuring the shadows of two identical objects separated only by 20 degrees of latitude.

    * Seen through a telescope, the planets and stars go through phases, just like the moon.

    * Seen through a telescope, only the planets go through phases, just like the moon.

    * Seen through a telescope, only the stars go through phases, just like the moon.

    * Planets and stars aren’t moons, so they don’t go through phases.

    * As of January, the sun won’t rise in the North Pole until the next equinox.

    * As of January, the sun won’t set in the South Pole until the next equinox.

    * The Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice is the brightest day for the South Pole.

    * The Southern Hemisphere’s summer solstice is the darkest day for the North Pole.

    [Edit: I added the following four, late in the game, just for fun.]

    * There is a fundamental, physical reason why the moon shows us only one face. In fact, this phenomenon happens to lots of orbiting bodies.

    * It is merely an amazing coincidence that the moon shows us only one face. In fact, the odds against this phenomenon happening at all are astronomical.

    * There is a fundamental, physical reason why the disk of the moon and the disk of the Sun are almost exactly the same size as seen from Earth. In fact, this phenomenon happens on several other planets in our own solar system.

    * It is merely an amazing coincidence that the disk of the moon and the disk of the sun are almost exactly the same size as seen from Earth. In fact the odds against this phenomenon happening at all are astronomical.


    Many of these can actually be figured out with a little common sense and very little knowledge. So if you know the answers, please use spoilers. For those answers that need “figuring out,” you are encouraged to show your work.

    Have fun!
     
  2. Joseph Howard

    Joseph Howard Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a couple nitpicks.....

     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    He killed another thread..... [​IMG]
     
  4. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Dr. Howard! I’m honored that you would be the first to respond to my post! Thank you for your highly regarded contribution.

    You got me on the first set of questions you identified. I do indeed mean apparent size and brightness. I wanted to reference what the different phases were for inner vs. outer planets (inner meaning inside Earth’s orbit, not inside the asteroid belt) at different points in their orbits (like opposition), but I didn’t want to use any terminology that might not be understood.

    As for the questions regarding the moon’s changing orbit, I’m actually referring to whether the moon’s orbit is expanding (spiraling outward) or contracting (spiraling inward) as a whole, not to the consequences of the orbit being elliptical. I should have been clearer.
     
  5. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    By the way, Dr. Joe, I added four more to my original post, if you want to scrutinize them. These actually should have been first, because they were among the first things I wondered about when I was a just a child. I don't know why I didn't think of them until just now.
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    But is the Moon really made of green cheese?
     

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