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Our Cosmic Home Practice Questions

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Updated on Sep 25, 2011

Review these concepts at: Our Cosmic Home Study Guide

Practice Problems

1. How many years ago was the Big Bang?

a. 13.7 trillion years ago

b. 13.7 quadrillion years ago

c. 13.7 million years ago

d. 13.7 billion years ago

2. Put in order the following events, from the earliest (closest in time of the Big Bang) to the latest (closest in time today): Electrons become stable around atomic nuclei (E); stable combinations of protons and neutrons (S); near annihilation of matter and antimatter (N); protogalaxies start to form (P).

a. N, S, E, P

b. E, S, N, P

c. P, E, S, N

d. S, E, P, N

3. What of the following did not occur at about 300,000 years after the Big Bang?

a. Matter was left over from matter–antimatter annihilation.

b. The universe became transparent.

c. The first atoms formed.

d. Electrons started orbits around atomic nuclei.

4. What is the current temperature of the universe?

a. 2.7°C

b. –2.7 K

c. –2.7° C

d. 2.7K

5. When atoms first formed, the matter in the universe consisted almost entirely of which two elements?

a. helium and carbon

b. oxygen and carbon

c. hydrogen and oxygen

d. hydrogen and helium

6. Which of the following is not true?

a. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light has.

b. Red light has a shorter wavelength than ultraviolet light has.

c. Ultraviolet has a shorter wavelength than infrared light has.

d. Green has a shorter wavelength than blue light has.

7. Consider a pattern of wavelengths of light from a calcium atom here on Earth. Assume that these wavelengths are in the green portion of the spectrum light that we can see. Looking at the same pattern of calcium in the spectrum from a distant galaxy, you will find that the pattern is shifted toward which set of wavelengths?

a. It shifted to ultraviolet.

b. It shifted to blue.

c. It shifted to red.

d. It isn't shifted.

8. What feature of our universe is demonstrated by the red shift?

a. an increase in supernovas

b. the contraction of black holes

c. the expansion of the universe

d. the decrease in gravity

9. The best evidence that the universe began with a Big Bang is which one of the following?

a. the formation of stars

b. the expanding universe

c. the existence of black holes

d. red light

10. The raisins in a loaf of raisin bread, which is rising in the oven, are like what in comparison to the universe?

a. galaxies

b. planets

c. Big Bangs

d. people

11. A supernova (an exploding star) is observed to occur at a distance of 500 light-years from Earth. That means we now see the supernova as which of the following?

a. as it was 500 years in the past

b. as it was 500 years after the Big Bang

c. as it will be 500 years in the future

d. as it is, basically, today

12. Assume that you are far out in space, looking at the Milky Way galaxy as a circular disk. Pretend this disk is a dart board, with an inner circle of 100 points, the next ring of 50 points, the next ring of 20 points, and the outermost ring of 10 points. The widths of the center circle and the rings are about the same. In which ring would you see our sun?

a. ring 100

b. ring 50

c. ring 20

d. ring 10

13. San Francisco, California, and Detroit, Michigan, are about 2,000 miles apart. Consider a beam of light traveling that distance. In one second, how many times could the beam of light go back and forth, making a round trip between Detroit and San Francisco?

a. 2,300 times

b. 23,000 times

c. 4,600 times

d. 46,000 times

14. Stars form when which of the following happen?

a. galaxies contract them

b. gravity contracts gas clouds

c. black holes ignite them

d. Big Bangs release them

15. Which of the following is not true?

a. Galaxies can hold hundreds of billions of stars.

b. The speed of light is infinite.

c. Our galaxy has a central, massive black hole.

d. Light is an electromagnetic wave.

16. In the stages of nuclear fusion inside stars, which element in the list, compared to the others, is formed last?

a. hydrogen

b. helium

c. carbon

d. oxygen

17. Which is the correct name for the events or processes that disperse elements born in the internal nuclear fires of stars, making those elements available for subsequent formations of new stars and planets?

a. supernovas

b. expanding universe

c. fusion reactions

d. red shift

18. Which element is not made in stars?

a. aluminum

b. boron

c. carbon

d. hydrogen

19. Which element out there in various places in the universe (including inside our sun) is both primordial (meaning some of it was made shortly after the Big Bang, before any stars formed) and made inside stars during fusion reactions?

a. carbon

b. hydrogen

c. helium

d. iron

20. In the stages of nuclear fusion inside stars, which element in the list, compared to the others, is the ultimate building block for all the others?

a. hydrogen

b. helium

c. carbon

d. oxygen

Answers

1.  d. 13.7 billion years ago

2.  a.  N, S, E, P

3.  a.  Matter was left over from matter–antimatter annihilation.

4.  d.  2.7 K

5.  d.  hydrogen and helium

6.  b.  Red light has a shorter wavelength than ultraviolet light has.

7.  c.  It shifted to red.

8.  c.  the expansion of the universe

9.  b. the expanding universe

10.  a. galaxies

11.  a. as it was 500 years in the past

12. c. ring 20

13. c.  4,600 times

14.  b. gravity contracts gas clouds

15.  b. The speed of light is infinite.

16.  d. oxygen

17.  a. supernovas

18.  d.  hydrogen

19.  c. helium

20.  a. hydrogen

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