Space Observation and Travel Practice Test
Space Observation and Travel Practice Test
A good score is at least 30 correct. Answers are given at the end. It is best to have a friend check your score the first time so that you won’t memorize the answers if you want to take the test again.
1. A telescope can be made using
(a) a concave objective lens and a convex eyepiece lens.
(b) a convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece lens.
(c) a convex objective mirror and a concave eyepiece lens.
(d) a concave objective lens and a concave eyepiece lens.
(e) any of the above.
2. Which of the following will not present a problem for interstellar travelers?
(a) Cosmic radiation
(d) Maintaining a supply of food and water
(e) All of the above will be cause for concern.
3. Which of the following statements is false?
(a) A convex lens can bring parallel light rays to a focus.
(b) A concave mirror can collimate light rays from a point source.
(c) A convex mirror can be used as the main objective in a reflecting telescope.
(d) A concave lens makes close-up objects appear smaller.
(e) A convex lens can be used as the main objective in a refracting telescope.
4. What color of light is best for referring to star charts and other data when observing the heavens on a moonless night?
(e) It doesn’t matter.
5. A cloud chamber can be used to detect
(a) cosmic particles.
(b) IR radiation.
(c) UV radiation.
(e) all of the above.
6. In a good pair of binoculars, the lenses
(a) reflect most of the light internally.
(b) have aluminized surfaces.
(c) are polarized.
(d) are coated to minimize reflection of light.
(e) are tinted to filter out glare.
7. One of the most annoying problems of a Galilean refractor, which uses a concave lens as the eyepiece, is the fact that
(a) the image appears upside-down.
(b) the image appears laterally reversed.
(c) the apparent field of view is narrow.
(d) focusing is critical.
(e) the objective mirror is difficult to adjust.
8. What is a telechir?
(a) A long-distance radio transmitter for interplanetary communication
(b) A system for remotely controlling a space probe
(c) A shuttle craft that can be used for transportation between a large space ship and the surface of a planet, moon, or asteroid
(d) A remotely controlled robot
(e) A virtual-reality computer program
9. A rich-field Newtonian reflector
(a) has relatively high magnification.
(b) has a relatively large objective mirror.
(c) has a relatively small f -ratio.
(d) requires a Barlow lens.
(e) requires a focal reducer.
10. Visible-light wavelengths are commonly denoted in
11. Suppose that a certain material transmits light at a speed of 150,000 km/s. What is its index of refraction, accurate to three significant figures?
12. A Keplerian refracting telescope has an objective lens with a focal length of 1,000 mm. A 10-mm eyepiece is used in conjunction with a 2× Barlow lens. The magnification of this telescope is
(e) impossible to calculate without more information.
13. One of the most serious challenges that will face the designers and operators of matter-antimatter spacecraft propulsion systems is
(a) keeping the antimatter contained while it is stored.
(b) preventing the ship from exceeding the speed of light.
(c) the relative inefficiency of matter-antimatter reactions.
(d) keeping the temperature high enough for reactions to occur.
(e) building an entire space ship out of antimatter.
14. The interferometer is
(a) a special high-resolution radio telescope.
(b) a device for splitting light into colors.
(c) an instrument for detecting x-rays.
(d) a means of minimizing radio noise.
(e) an antenna for transmitting signals through the ionosphere.
15. On an interplanetary journey, food will come mainly from
(a) supplies carried or delivered from Earth.
(b) mineral matter gathered from meteoroids, asteroids, and comets.
(c) extraterrestrial sources.
(d) water and vitamin pills.
(e) intravenous feeding.
16. The wavelength of a light beam is inversely proportional to its
17. A disadvantage of using robots in place of human astronauts for long-distance journeys into space is, arguably, the fact that
(a) the electronic circuits in robots are sensitive to cosmic radiation.
(b) sending robots to celestial destinations is not romantic.
(c) robots are too heavy and bulky to transport into space.
(d) robots require electrical power to function, but humans do not.
(e) robots could bring computer viruses back to Earth.
18. An SCT has an objective mirror with an effective focal length of 2,000 mm. A 40-mm eyepiece is used in conjunction with a focal reducer/corrector that reduces the f -ratio by 37 percent. The magnification of this configuration is
(e) impossible to determine without more information.
19. Which of the following statements is false?
(a) A glass prism bends green light more than it bends orange light.
(b) The focal length of a simple glass convex lens is shorter for green light than for orange light.
(c) Dispersion occurs when white light passes through a simple glass lens.
(d) The index of refraction of glass depends on the color of the light shining through it.
(e) All of the above statements are true.
20. Fill in the blank to make the following sentence true: “The _____ temperature of a celestial object is determined by examining its radiation intensity at various wavelengths.”
21. A fork mount and wedge consists of
(a) an az-el mount that is tilted so that its azimuth axis points at the celestial pole.
(b) an az-el mount that is tilted so that its elevation axis points at the celestial pole.
(c) a German equatorial mount that is tilted so that its right-ascension axis points at the zenith.
(d) a German equatorial mount that is tilted so that its declination axis points at the zenith.
(e) none of the above.
22. The maximum diameter of a refracting telescope is limited, in practice, by
(a) lens sag.
(b) spherical aberration.
(c) paraboloidal aberration.
(d) focal length.
23. Suppose that you travel into space at a speed arbitrarily close to the speed of light for a vast distance and then return to Earth. Which of the following scenarios is impossible?
(a) Your parents have not yet been born.
(b) All the classmates you knew in high school are years older than you.
(c) The climate of the Earth has changed.
(d) Humans have become extinct.
(e) The Sun has died.
24. In order to observe the Cosmos at x-ray wavelengths, it is necessary to
(a) get above Earth’s atmosphere.
(b) use special color filters.
(c) use a telescope with a large f -ratio.
(d) find a location far away from city lights.
(e) find a location where there is little rf interference.
25. To keep the rotation of Earth from causing celestial objects to drift out of a telescope’s field of view, you can use
(a) a Dobsonian mount.
(b) a right-ascension mount.
(c) a German equatorial mount.
(d) an equatorial mounting table.
(e) a clock drive.
26. Imagine a solid sphere of glass, perfectly transparent and perfectly uniform, with a spherical hollow space in the exact center. Imagine a lightbulb, call it Lamp A, with a point-source filament located at the center of the spherical hollow space and therefore also at the center of the whole sphere of glass. Imagine a second lightbulb in the open air, also with a point-source filament; call it Lamp B. How do the rays of light from the two lamps compare in their behavior?
(a) The rays from both lamps radiate outward in straight lines and in exactly the same way.
(b) The rays from Lamp A are reflected totally inside the cavity within the sphere of glass, but the rays from Lamp B radiate outward in straight lines.
(c) The rays from Lamp A converge to a point somewhere outside the sphere of glass, but the rays from Lamp B radiate outward in straight lines.
(d) The rays from Lamp A diverge more when they emerge from the sphere of glass compared with the rays from Lamp B that do not have to pass through the glass.
(e) It is impossible to say without more information.
27. A device that bends light, making refractors and SCTs easier to look through when observing objects high in the sky, is called
(a) a Kellner eyepiece.
(b) a finder.
(c) a Barlow lens.
(d) a focal reducer.
(e) a star diagonal.
28. Which of the following instruments can be used to analyze celestial objects in the UV part of the spectrum?
(a) A radar telescope
(b) A spectrophotometer
(c) An interferometer
(d) A Keplerian refractor
(e) A Galilean refractor
29. Most telescope eyepieces have focal lengths ranging from approximately
(a) 0.4 to 4 mm.
(b) 4 to 40 mm.
(c) 40 to 400 mm.
(d) 40 cm to 4 m.
(e) 4 to 40 m.
30. A Cassegrain reflector
(a) has a concave objective mirror and a flat secondary mirror.
(b) has a concave objective mirror and a convex secondary mirror.
(c) has a longer tube than an equivalent Newtonian reflector.
(d) suffers from lens sag if the diameter of the objective is too large.
(e) has the eyepiece mounted in the side of the tube.
31. Fill in the blank to make the following sentence correct: “For best viewing, the ________ of a pair of binoculars should be the same as the diameter of the pupils of the observer’s eyes when adjusted to the darkness.”
(a) objective-lens diameter
(b) eyepiece diameter
(d) exit pupil
(e) focal length
32. One theory concerning the nature of x-ray stars suggests that they consist of
(a) diffuse gas and dust congealing into new stars.
(b) remnants of supernovae.
(c) binary systems in which a neutron star pulls matter from a normal star.
(d) cool stars with intense magnetic fields.
(e) pairs of neutron stars in mutual orbit.
33. In an interplanetary or intergalactic spacecraft, the oxygen supply can be supplemented by
(a) burning flammable materials.
(b) electrolysis of water.
(c) combining water with hydrogen.
(d) hydrogen fusion.
(e) none of the above.
34. A Cassegrain reflector has an objective measuring 25 cm in diameter. The magnification of the telescope is 250×. What is the f -ratio of this instrument?
(a) f /25
(b) f /250
(c) f /10
(d) f /0.10
(e) It cannot be calculated from this information.
35. Which, if any, of the following (a, b, c, or d) has not been suggested as a good reason for humanity to venture into space?
(a) Extraterrestrial objects contain natural resources we can use.
(b) We should strive to encounter and learn from extraterrestrial beings.
(c) Relativistic space travel will allow us to travel back in time and correct our past mistakes.
(d) The Sun will eventually die and we will need to find a new home.
(e) All of the above have been suggested as good reasons for humanity to venture into space.
36. Radar astronomy has proven valuable in mapping the surface of
37. The Bussard ramjet is a proposed form of
(a) aircraft propulsion system.
(b) hydrogen-fusion propulsion system.
(c) chemical propulsion system.
(d) matter-antimatter propulsion system.
(e) laser-beam propulsion system.
38. When light from the Sun shines on a spherical, reflective object such as a steel ball bearing, the reflected rays
(a) are all parallel.
(d) focus to a point hot enough to start fires.
(e) behave unpredictably.
39. When an astronaut lives for a long time at zero- g ,
(a) the body becomes stronger because it doesn’t have to constantly work against the pull of gravity.
(b) the bones lose calcium, which is excreted in the urine; this weakens the skeleton and can cause kidney stones.
(c) the lung capacity increases because the thin air requires that they grow larger to get enough oxygen.
(d) the body gradually loses its need for sleep so that by the end of a long journey, space travelers can stay awake and alert indefinitely.
(e) nothing in particular happens to the body.
40. Karl Jansky was the first experimenter to discover radio noise coming from outer space. He found especially high levels of rf energy when his antennas were aimed at
(a) the Moon.
(b) the north celestial pole.
(c) the center of the galaxy.
(d) the horizon.
(e) the zenith.
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