The Southern Sky Practice Problems

By — McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Sep 16, 2011

Review the following concepts if needed:

The Southern Sky Practice Problems

A good score is 8 correct. Answers are provided at the end.

1. In the southern hemisphere, elevation is measured in the same way as it is in the northern hemisphere, with the following exception:

(a) It is a negative angle rather than a positive angle.

(b) It is expressed in radians rather than in degrees.

(c) It is measured with respect to the south pole rather than the north pole.

(d) There are no exceptions.


2. Which of the following stars is also known as “south Polaris”?

(a) Formalhaut

(b) Capella

(c) Sirius

(d) None of the above


3. The spring equinox in the southern hemisphere occurs in which month?

(a) March

(b) June

(c) September

(d) December


4. Suppose that it is a few days after the summer solstice according to people who live in Sydney, Australia. The Sun’s declination is

(a) slowly decreasing.

(b) rapidly decreasing.

(c) slowly increasing.

(d) rapidly increasing.


5. At a latitude of 35°S, the angular radius of the south circumpolar region is

(a) 70 degrees of arc.

(b) 55 degrees of arc.

(c) 35 degrees of arc.

(d) impossible to determine, not enough data are given.


6. Orion is a landmark constellation primarily in which season south of the equator?

(a) Winter

(b) Summer

(c) Spring

(d) Fall


7. At a latitude of 55°S, the northern pole star Polaris would be approximately

(a) 35 degrees above the horizon.

(b) 35 degrees below the horizon.

(c) 55 degrees above the horizon.

(d) 55 degrees below the horizon.


8. A circumpolar constellation as viewed from Cape Town, South Africa, is

(a) Ursa Minor.

(b) Octans.

(c) Ursa Major.

(d) Draco.


9. A star that lies on the celestial equator as seen from 45°N would lie approximately where as seen from 45°S?

(a) On the celestial equator

(b) Near the north celestial pole

(c) Near the south celestial pole

(d) The answer cannot be determined from the information given.


10. As the night progresses for an observer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the south circumpolar stars seem to

(a) revolve counterclockwise around the south celestial pole.

(b) revolve clockwise around the south celestial pole.

(c) rise in the east and set in the west.

(d) never rise above the horizon.



1. D

2. D

3. C

4. C

5. C

6. B

7. D

8. B

9. A

10. B

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