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Multiple Choice Quiz


Precession is
A)the slow motion of the Earth's rotation axis on the celestial sphere
B)the apparent backward motion of the stars from night to night
C)the accuracy of an astronomical measurement in arcseconds
D)the motion of the sun relative to that of the Earth
E)the motion of the planets during retrograde motion

Something which is 100 km away has an angular size of 2 seconds of arc.
Approximately how tall is it?
A)1 m
B)10 m
C)100 m
D)1 km

An object with an angular size of 1 degree moves three times farther away. What is its new angular size?
A)3 degrees
B)20 minutes of arc
C)3 minutes of arc
D)33 seconds of arc

Which of the following is a reason that the ancient Greek astronomers rejected Aristarchus' heliocentric model of the solar system?
A)it did not account for retrograde motions of the planets
B)it could not explain the phases of Venus
C)they could detect no stellar parallax
D)it could not account for the Coriolis effect

What quantity did Aristarchus have to estimate in order to find the relative distances of the sun and the moon?
A)the angular sizes of the sun and moon
B)the angle between the sun and moon at the time of quarter moon
C)the parallax of the moon
D)the length of time between successive solar and lunar eclipses

How did Eratosthenes determine the size of the Earth?
A)by observing the lengths of shadows at different locations
B)by observing the size of the Earth's shadow during eclipses
C)by determining the density and mass of the Earth
D)by measuring the parallax of the moon

What evidence did Aristotle offer for his argument that the Earth is a sphere?
A)he had travelled around it
B)the other planets are spheres
C)the shadow of the Earth during a lunar eclipse is curved
D)the Sun set in the west and then rose in the east the next morning

An astronaut lands on an unknown planet. After walking a distance of 200 km toward the north pole of the planet, she notices that the pole star for that planet is 5 degrees higher in the sky. What is the circumference of the planet?
A)14,400 km
B)1000 km
C)20,600 km
D)3,600 km

Why were epicycles used in Ptolemy's model of the solar system?
A)to account for the parallaxes of stars
B)to compensate for the ellipticity of the orbits of the planets
C)to explain the retrograde motions of planets
D)to explain the phenomenon of day and night

What role did the equant play in Ptolemy's model of the solar system?
A)it hid the Sun from view at night
B)it made planetary orbits elliptical
C)it was the center of the epicycle
D)it made planets move among the stars at the right speeds

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