This Quiz On Astronomy Is Only For Geniuses

52 Questions | Total Attempts: 348

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Astronomy Quizzes & Trivia

Throughout history, scientific geniuses from Galileo to Newton have often believed in completely fantastical things from astrology to alchemy to straight-up magic. Do you think that you are a genius when it comes to astronomy? Test out how true your answer is by tackling this challenging astronomy quiz. Good luck!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Suppose we imagine the Sun to be about the size of a grapefruit. How big an area would the orbits of the nine planets of the Solar System cover?
    • A. 

      The size of a typical dorm room

    • B. 

      The size of a typical campus building

    • C. 

      The size of a typical campus

    • D. 

      The size of a small city

    • E. 

      The size of a western state (e.g.,Colorado)

  • 2. 
    Earth is made mostly of metals and rocks. Where did this material come from?
    • A. 

      It was produced in the Big Bang.

    • B. 

      It was created by chemical reactions in interstellar space.

    • C. 

      It was produced by nuclear fusion in stars.

    • D. 

      It was made by our Sun.

    • E. 

      It was made by nuclear fission of uranium and other radioactive materials.

  • 3. 
    What is nuclear fusion?
    • A. 

      An explosion caused by putting together two volatile chemicals

    • B. 

      The process of splitting nuclei to produce energy

    • C. 

      The process of turning matter into pure energy

    • D. 

      The process of combining lightweight nuclei to make heavier nuclei

    • E. 

      A process that only occurs in bombs

  • 4. 
    Which of the following statements does not use the term light-year in an appropriate way?
    • A. 

      It's about 4 light-years from here to Alpha Centauri.

    • B. 

      It will take me light-years to complete this homework assignment.

    • C. 

      A light-year is about 10 trillion kilometers.

    • D. 

      It will take the Voyager spacecraft about 20,000 years to travel just 1 light-year.

    • E. 

      The Milky Way Galaxy is about 100,000 light-years in diameter.

  • 5. 
    Suppose we imagine the Sun to be about the size of a grapefruit. Which of the following describes the size and distance of Earth on the same scale?
    • A. 

      Earth is the size of a point about 1 meter away from the Sun.

    • B. 

      Earth is the size of a golf ball about 1 meter away from the Sun.

    • C. 

      Earth is the size of a point about 15 meters away from the Sun.

    • D. 

      Earth is the size of a golf ball about 15 meters away from the Sun.

    • E. 

      Earth is the size of a marble about 25 miles away from the Sun.

  • 6. 
    What is the Sun mainly made of?
    • A. 

      Hydrogen and oxygen

    • B. 

      Hydrogen and helium

    • C. 

      Carbon and nitrogen

    • D. 

      Oxygen and carbon

    • E. 

      Nearly equal portions of all the elements

  • 7. 
    Which of the following is smallest?
    • A. 

      Size of a typical planet

    • B. 

      1 light-second

    • C. 

      1 AU

    • D. 

      Size of a typical star

  • 8. 
    Which of the following is largest?
    • A. 

      Size of a typical galaxy

    • B. 

      Size of Pluto's orbit

    • C. 

      Distance to the nearest star (other than our Sun)

    • D. 

      1 light-year

  • 9. 
    Suppose we imagine the Sun to be about the size of a grapefruit. How far away are the nearest stars (the three stars of Alpha Centauri)?
    • A. 

      The length of a football field

    • B. 

      2.5 miles

    • C. 

      250 miles

    • D. 

      2,500 miles

    • E. 

      25,000 miles

  • 10. 
    Which of the following best describes the Milky Way Galaxy?
    • A. 

      A spiral galaxy with a disk about 100,000 light-years in diameter and containing between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars

    • B. 

      A spiral galaxy with a disk about a billion kilometers in diameter and containing between 100 million and 1 billion stars

    • C. 

      A spiral galaxy with a disk about 100,000 light-years in diameter and containing about 100,000 stars

    • D. 

      A spherically shaped collection of stars including our solar system and about a dozen other solar systems, stretching about 4 light-years in diameter

    • E. 

      A spherically shaped collection of about 1 million stars that is about 100 light-years in diameter

  • 11. 
    On the scale of the cosmic calendar, in which the history of the universe is compressed to 1 year, how long has human civilization (i.e., since ancient Egypt) existed?
    • A. 

      About half the year

    • B. 

      About a month about a month about a month

    • C. 

      A few hours

    • D. 

      A few seconds

    • E. 

      Less than a millionth of a second

  • 12. 
    Approximately how fast are you moving with the rotation of Earth?
    • A. 

      13,000 km/hr

    • B. 

      1,300 km/hr

    • C. 

      130 km/hr

    • D. 

      13 km/hr

    • E. 

      Not moving at all

  • 13. 
    How long does it take our solar system to complete one orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy?
    • A. 

      10 thousand years

    • B. 

      230 thousand years

    • C. 

      1 million years

    • D. 

      100 million years

    • E. 

      230 million years

  • 14. 
    Which of the following statements about the Milky Way Galaxy is not true?
    • A. 

      It contains between 100 billion and 1 trillion stars.

    • B. 

      Our solar system is located very close to the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

    • C. 

      The galaxy is about 100,000 light-years in diameter.

    • D. 

      One rotation of the galaxy takes about 200 million years.

  • 15. 
    The distribution of the mass of the Milky Way Galaxy is determined by
    • A. 

      Counting the number of stars.

    • B. 

      Determining the amount of gas and dust.

    • C. 

      Studying how stars are distributed in the Milky Way.

    • D. 

      Studying the rotation of the galaxy.

    • E. 

      Weighing various parts of the Milky Way.

  • 16. 
    Imagine that we put a raisin cake into the oven, with each raisin separated from the others by 1 cm. An hour later, we take it out and the distances between raisins are 3 cm. If you lived in one of the raisins and watched the other raisins as the cake expanded, which of the following would you conclude?
    • A. 

      All raisins would be moving away from you at the same speed.

    • B. 

      More distant raisins would be moving away from you faster.

    • C. 

      More distant raisins would be moving away from you more slowly.

    • D. 

      It depends: If you lived in a raisin near the left side of the cake, you'd see other raisins moving away from you, but they'd be coming toward you if you lived in a raisin near the right side of the cake.

  • 17. 
    Which of the following statements about the celestial equator is true at all latitudes?
    • A. 

      It lies along the band of light we call the Milky Way.

    • B. 

      It represents an extension of Earth's equator onto the celestial sphere.

    • C. 

      It cuts the dome of your local sky exactly in half.

    • D. 

      It extends from your horizon due east, through your zenith, to your horizon due west.

    • E. 

      It extends from your horizon due north, through your zenith, to your horizon due south.

  • 18. 
    If it is midnight in New York, it is
    • A. 

      Daytime in Sydney, Australia.

    • B. 

      Midnight in Sydney, Australia.

    • C. 

      Midnight in Los Angeles.

    • D. 

      Midday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    • E. 

      Midnight everywhere.

  • 19. 
    How many arcseconds are in 1°?
    • A. 

      60

    • B. 

      360

    • C. 

      3,600

    • D. 

      100

    • E. 

      10,000

  • 20. 
    What makes the North Star, Polaris, special?
    • A. 

      It is the brightest star in the sky.

    • B. 

      It is the star straight overhead.

    • C. 

      It appears very near the north celestial pole.

    • D. 

      It is the star directly on your northern horizon.

    • E. 

      It can be used to determine your longitude on Earth.

  • 21. 
    You are standing on Earth's equator. Which way is Polaris, the North star?
    • A. 

      30 degrees up, due West

    • B. 

      On the northern horizon

    • C. 

      Directly overhead

    • D. 

      The answer depends on whether it's winter or summer.

    • E. 

      The answer depends on what time of day (or night) it is.

  • 22. 
    Why is it summer in the Northern Hemisphere when it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere?
    • A. 

      The Northern Hemisphere is closer to the Sun than the Southern Hemisphere.

    • B. 

      The Northern Hemisphere is "on top" of Earth and therefore receives more sunlight.

    • C. 

      The Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun and receives more direct sunlight.

    • D. 

      The Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun and receives more indirect sunlight.

    • E. 

      It isn't: both hemispheres have the same seasons at the same time.

  • 23. 
    Which of the following statements is true?
    • A. 

      Both the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight on the equinoxes.

    • B. 

      Both the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight on the solstices.

    • C. 

      The Northern Hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight on the summer solstice.

    • D. 

      The Southern Hemisphere receives the most direct sunlight on the summer solstice.

    • E. 

      Both A and C are true.

  • 24. 
    Which of the following statements about constellations is false?
    • A. 

      There are only 88 official constellations.

    • B. 

      Some constellations can be seen from both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

    • C. 

      Some constellations can be seen in both the winter and summer.

    • D. 

      It is possible to see all the constellations from Earth's equator.

    • E. 

      Most constellations will be unrecognizable hundreds of years from now.

  • 25. 
    Which of the following statements about the Moon is true?
    • A. 

      The Moon goes through a cycle of phases because it always has the same side facing Earth.

    • B. 

      If you see a full Moon from North America, someone in South America would see a new moon.

    • C. 

      The Moon's distance from Earth varies during its orbit.

    • D. 

      The Moon is visible only at night.

    • E. 

      The side of the Moon facing away from Earth is in perpetual darkness.

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