Stars and Constellations Practice Problems

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

Review the following concepts if needed:

Stars and Constellations Practice Problems

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

1. As the seasons progress, the constellations appear to gradually turn counterclockwise around the north celestial pole from night to night because

(a) Bootes and Canes Venatici chase Ursa Major around Polaris.

(b) the sidereal day is slightly shorter than the solar day.

(c) Earth rotates on its axis.

(d) the galaxy spirals around its center.


2. If you live in the northern hemisphere, the elevation of Polaris above the horizon, in degrees, is about the same as

(a) your latitude.

(b) 90 degrees minus your latitude.

(c) the elevation of the Sun in the sky at noon.

(d) nothing in particular; its elevation changes as the seasons pass.


3. Tau Ceti is considered a special star because

(a) it revolves around Polaris in a perfect circle.

(b) it is inside our solar system.

(c) it is in a constellation all by itself.

(d) some astronomers think that it might have a solar system like ours.


4. Earth slowly wobbles on its axis, causing the constellations to

(a) change shape slightly from year to year.

(b) gradually converge on Polaris.

(c) shift position in the sky slightly from century to century.

(d) follow the plane of the ecliptic.


5. People in the time of Julius Caesar saw constellations whose individual shapes were

(a) the same as they are now.

(b) somewhat different than they are now.

(c) almost nothing like they are now.

(d) nothing at all like they are now.


6. The constellation Andromeda is well known because it contains

(a) the brightest star in the whole sky.

(b) all the planets at one time or another.

(c) the north celestial pole.

(d) a spectacular spiral galaxy.


7. Orion is a landmark constellation in the northern hemisphere

(a) all year round.

(b) during the winter.

(c) only north of about 45 degrees latitude.

(d) because it contains the brightest two stars in the sky.


8. Coma Berenices is sometimes mistaken for

(a) the sword of Orion.

(b) Ursa Major.

(c) the Andromeda galaxy.

(d) the Pleiades.


9. The pole star, Polaris, is part of

(a) Canis Major.

(b) Pegasus.

(c) Ursa Minor.

(d) no constellation; it stands by itself.


10. The stars Vega, Altair, and Deneb dominate the sky

(a) in the circumpolar region.

(b) during the northern hemisphere summer.

(c) during spring, summer, and fall, respectively.

(d) No! These are not stars but constellations.



1. B

2. A

3. D

4. C

5. A

6. D

7. B

8. D

9. C

10. B

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