History Of Astronomy

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History Of Astronomy - Quiz

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Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Examine the diagram of the solar system below. Which of the following astronomers held and promoted this view of the solar system? Check all that apply.

    • A.

      Aristarchus

    • B.

      Ptolemy

    • C.

      Copernicus

    • D.

      Tycho Brahe

    • E.

      Johannes Kepler

    Correct Answer
    B. Ptolemy
    Explanation
    Ptolemy held and promoted the geocentric view of the solar system, which is depicted in the diagram. This view placed the Earth at the center of the universe, with the other celestial bodies, including the Sun, orbiting around it. Ptolemy's model was widely accepted for centuries until it was challenged by Copernicus, who proposed the heliocentric model. Aristarchus, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, and Johannes Kepler all contributed to the development of the heliocentric model.

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  • 2. 

    What approach did early astronomers like Eratosthenes take to discover the size and shape of the earth? (Choose all that apply)

    • A.

      The logic that the shape of the earth's shadow on the moon during eclipses provided clues to earth's shape

    • B.

      Observations that certain stars could only be visible from certain locations

    • C.

      Using geometry and distances between two locations where sun beams were relatively parallel allowed astronomers to calculate roughly the circumference of the earth

    • D.

      Early astronomers relied only upon observations with the naked eye

    • E.

      Early astronomers relied on observations and geometry only to explain relative shapes and sizes of the earth

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. The logic that the shape of the earth's shadow on the moon during eclipses provided clues to earth's shape
    B. Observations that certain stars could only be visible from certain locations
    C. Using geometry and distances between two locations where sun beams were relatively parallel allowed astronomers to calculate roughly the circumference of the earth
    Explanation
    Early astronomers like Eratosthenes took multiple approaches to discover the size and shape of the earth. They used the logic that the shape of the earth's shadow on the moon during eclipses provided clues to its shape. They also made observations that certain stars could only be visible from certain locations, which helped them understand the earth's shape. Additionally, they used geometry and distances between two locations where sun beams were relatively parallel to calculate the rough circumference of the earth. These early astronomers did not rely solely on naked eye observations, but also incorporated geometry and logic to explain the relative shapes and sizes of the earth.

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  • 3. 

    What is the following diagram developed by Ptolemy attempting to explain?

    • A.

      Geocentric model with stellar parallax

    • B.

      Heliocentric model

    • C.

      Geocentric model with the retrograde motion of Mars

    • D.

      How the relative distance of the earth can be determined

    Correct Answer
    C. Geocentric model with the retrograde motion of Mars
    Explanation
    The diagram developed by Ptolemy is attempting to explain the geocentric model with the retrograde motion of Mars. In this model, Earth is believed to be at the center of the universe, and Mars appears to move backwards in its orbit at certain times. Ptolemy's diagram would likely show the Earth at the center, with Mars orbiting around it, and the retrograde motion of Mars depicted.

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  • 4. 

    Examine the picture of stellar parallax. How was this concept used to reject Aristarchus' early notion that the Sun was the center of the solar system?

    • A.

      There was too little distance between Earth and the stars to make any conclusions

    • B.

      The stars' movement compared to the more distant stars was not observable. Therefore, stellar parallax must not exist.

    • C.

      Stellar parallax does not exist because early astronomers could observe the movement of the more near star and it would not move.

    • D.

      The distance between the Sun and earth was too large to make any observations of stars' movements

    Correct Answer
    B. The stars' movement compared to the more distant stars was not observable. Therefore, stellar parallax must not exist.
    Explanation
    If the stars' movement compared to the more distant stars was not observable, it means that there was no apparent shift in their positions over time. This lack of observable stellar parallax led to the rejection of Aristarchus' early notion that the Sun was the center of the solar system. Stellar parallax is the apparent shift in the position of stars due to the Earth's orbit around the Sun, and if it was not observed, it suggested that the stars were not relatively close to the Earth as Aristarchus had proposed.

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  • 5. 

    What problems did early astronomers face when trying to justify a geocentric model?

    • A.

      Bodies in the night sky moved from horizon to horizon making people think the Sun was the center

    • B.

      No observations of bodies in the night sky were observable to make any logical conclusions about celestial orbits

    • C.

      Retrograde motion of planets farther out than the Earth

    • D.

      The lack of evidence for stellar parallax

    Correct Answer
    C. Retrograde motion of planets farther out than the Earth
    Explanation
    Early astronomers faced the problem of retrograde motion of planets farther out than the Earth when trying to justify a geocentric model. Retrograde motion refers to the apparent backward movement of planets in the night sky, which goes against the assumption that the Earth is at the center. This phenomenon challenged the geocentric model and required astronomers to come up with explanations or modifications to their theory in order to account for it.

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  • 6. 

    The observation that everything moved across the night sky from east to west caused early astronomers to believe... ( choose one )

    • A.

      The earth was the center of the solar system

    • B.

      The sun was the center of the solar system

    • C.

      Stellar parallax did not exist

    • D.

      Retrograde motion did not exist

    Correct Answer
    A. The earth was the center of the solar system
    Explanation
    Early astronomers believed that the observation of everything moving across the night sky from east to west indicated that the Earth was the center of the solar system. This geocentric model assumed that all celestial bodies, including the Sun, revolved around the Earth. This belief was later disproven by Copernicus and Galileo, who provided evidence for a heliocentric model, where the Sun is at the center of the solar system.

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  • 7. 

    The early astronomer __________________________ attempted to show that Mars moved in circles as it orbited the Earth.

    Correct Answer
    Ptolemy, Claudius Ptolemy
    Explanation
    Claudius Ptolemy was an early astronomer who attempted to show that Mars, along with other planets, moved in circles as it orbited the Earth. His geocentric model of the universe, where the Earth is at the center and all celestial bodies move in perfect circles around it, was widely accepted for many centuries until the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus gained acceptance.

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  • 8. 

    What evidence would support that the Sun was the center of the solar system? ( check all that apply)

    • A.

      The moon and sun both move across the night sky from east to west

    • B.

      Stellar parallax

    • C.

      Retrograde motion

    • D.

      Spherical shadows on the moon's surface

    Correct Answer(s)
    B. Stellar parallax
    C. Retrograde motion
    Explanation
    Stellar parallax is the apparent shift in the position of nearby stars relative to more distant stars, caused by the Earth's orbit around the Sun. This supports the idea that the Sun is at the center of the solar system because it suggests that the stars are not fixed in the sky but are instead moving relative to us.

    Retrograde motion is the apparent backward motion of planets in the night sky. This can be explained by the heliocentric model, where the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun, causing the observed motion of planets to sometimes appear to be moving backward.

    Therefore, both stellar parallax and retrograde motion provide evidence that the Sun is the center of the solar system.

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  • 9. 

    Read the following excerpt taken from the Explorations book, "Tycho designed and had built instruments of far greater accuracy than any yet devised in Europe. Tycho then used these devices to make precise measurements of planetary positions. His meticulous observations turned out to be crucial not only for distinguishing the superiority of the heliocentric over the geocentric system but also for revealing the true shape of planetary orbits." What conclusion(s) can you make about the nature of scientific endeavor? (choose all that apply)

    • A.

      Scientists rely on observations and measurements to support their claims

    • B.

      Scientists' observations and measurements could lead to future, new discoveries

    • C.

      Scientific knowledge changes with the development of new technology

    • D.

      Scientists use others' work to help their own investigations

    • E.

      Scientists do not rely on logically explaining patterns found in their measurements

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Scientists rely on observations and measurements to support their claims
    B. Scientists' observations and measurements could lead to future, new discoveries
    C. Scientific knowledge changes with the development of new technology
    D. Scientists use others' work to help their own investigations
    Explanation
    The given excerpt states that Tycho made precise measurements of planetary positions using instruments of great accuracy. This implies that scientists rely on observations and measurements to support their claims. Additionally, the excerpt mentions that Tycho's meticulous observations were crucial for revealing the true shape of planetary orbits, indicating that scientists' observations and measurements could lead to future, new discoveries. Furthermore, the excerpt suggests that scientific knowledge changes with the development of new technology, as Tycho's instruments were more accurate than any previously devised in Europe. Lastly, the mention of Tycho using others' work to help his own investigations implies that scientists use others' work to aid their own research.

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  • 10. 

    Kepler was the first astronomer to fit planetary orbits to? ( choose one)

    • A.

      Circles

    • B.

      Epicycles

    • C.

      Heliocentric models

    • D.

      Ellipses

    • E.

      Rotations

    Correct Answer
    D. Ellipses
    Explanation
    Kepler was the first astronomer to fit planetary orbits to ellipses. He discovered that the planets do not move in perfect circles, as previously believed, but in elliptical paths around the sun. This groundbreaking finding is known as Kepler's First Law of Planetary Motion and revolutionized our understanding of the solar system.

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  • 11. 

    Using the diagram below, Kepler helped explain...

    • A.

      Why planets travel faster when farther away from the sun during its orbit

    • B.

      Why retrograde motion occurs

    • C.

      Why planets travel faster closer to the sun during its orbit

    • D.

      Why the sun is the center of planets' circular orbits

    Correct Answer
    C. Why planets travel faster closer to the sun during its orbit
    Explanation
    Kepler's laws of planetary motion state that the speed of a planet in its orbit changes depending on its distance from the sun. According to Kepler's second law, a planet travels faster when it is closer to the sun during its orbit. This is because the gravitational force between the planet and the sun is stronger when they are closer, causing the planet to accelerate and move faster. Therefore, the correct answer is why planets travel faster closer to the sun during its orbit.

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  • 12. 

    What important discovery did Galileo make that clearly disproved the geocentric model?

    • A.

      The interior planet of Venus also had phases when observed from the earth.

    • B.

      The moon has phases showing not all celestial bodies orbit the sun

    • C.

      Saturn had rings

    • D.

      Retrograde motion

    Correct Answer
    A. The interior planet of Venus also had phases when observed from the earth.
    Explanation
    Galileo's important discovery that clearly disproved the geocentric model was that the interior planet of Venus also had phases when observed from the earth. This observation directly contradicted the geocentric model, which stated that all celestial bodies revolved around the Earth. The phases of Venus demonstrated that it orbited the sun, providing strong evidence for the heliocentric model proposed by Copernicus. This discovery by Galileo supported the idea that the sun, rather than the Earth, was at the center of the solar system.

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  • 13. 

    Which of the following choices accurately compares the discovery of the phases of the planet Venus and the retrograde motion of Mars? ( choose one )

    • A.

      Venus and Mars are both interior planets relative to the Earth

    • B.

      Both support that Venus, Earth and Mars are all orbiting the Sun

    • C.

      Both support the geocentric model of the solar system

    • D.

      Both created difficulty to support the heliocentric model

    Correct Answer
    B. Both support that Venus, Earth and Mars are all orbiting the Sun
    Explanation
    Both the discovery of the phases of Venus and the retrograde motion of Mars support the idea that Venus, Earth, and Mars are all orbiting the Sun. This means that they provide evidence for the heliocentric model of the solar system, which states that the Sun is at the center and the planets revolve around it. By observing the phases of Venus and the retrograde motion of Mars, scientists were able to gather data that supported the heliocentric model and challenged the geocentric model, which placed Earth at the center of the solar system.

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  • 14. 

    Examine the diagram of retrograde motion. What is the relationship between Earth and Mars?

    • A.

      Earth and Mars travel at the same speeds around the Sun

    • B.

      Earth and Mars have the same orbit

    • C.

      Retrograde motion supports the geocentric model

    • D.

      Earth has a faster orbit than Mars

    Correct Answer
    D. Earth has a faster orbit than Mars
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that Earth has a faster orbit than Mars. This can be inferred from the diagram of retrograde motion, which suggests that Mars appears to move backwards in the sky relative to Earth due to their differing orbital speeds.

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  • 15. 

    Which of the following words shows the similarity between Aristarchus and Copernicus?

    • A.

      Geocentric

    • B.

      Heliocentric

    • C.

      Retrograde

    • D.

      Epicycle

    • E.

      Ellipses

    Correct Answer
    B. Heliocentric
    Explanation
    Aristarchus and Copernicus both believed in the heliocentric model of the solar system, which states that the sun is at the center and the planets revolve around it. This is in contrast to the geocentric model, which places the Earth at the center. Therefore, the word "Heliocentric" shows the similarity between Aristarchus and Copernicus as they both supported this theory.

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  • 16. 

    Choose which word best completes the analogy: Ptolemy is to epicycles as Kepler is to _________________________

    • A.

      Ellipses

    • B.

      Parallax

    • C.

      Circles

    • D.

      Phases

    Correct Answer
    A. Ellipses
    Explanation
    Ptolemy is known for his geocentric model of the universe, which involved the use of epicycles to explain the irregular motion of planets. Similarly, Kepler is known for his heliocentric model, which replaced epicycles with ellipses to describe the orbits of planets. Therefore, the word "ellipses" best completes the analogy.

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  • 17. 

    Read the following excerpt from Explorations to answer the following question, "Galileo looked at Jupiter and saw four smaller objects orbiting it, which he concluded were moons of the planet." Which of the following conclusions can you make from this statement?"

    • A.

      At least some of the bodies in heaven did not orbit the Earth.

    • B.

      The geocentric model CANNOT work at all as a result of this discovery.

    • C.

      All bodies in the heaven orbit the Earth

    • D.

      Not enough information to make any accurate conclusions

    Correct Answer
    A. At least some of the bodies in heaven did not orbit the Earth.
    Explanation
    The statement suggests that Galileo observed four smaller objects orbiting Jupiter, which implies that these bodies are not orbiting the Earth. Therefore, the conclusion that can be made is that at least some of the bodies in heaven did not orbit the Earth.

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  • 18. 

    Which of the following accurately summarizes the changes in scientific thought concerning the motion of planetary bodies in our solar system? 

    • A.

      The development of the heliocentric model including elliptical orbits was developed through primarily naked eye observations.

    • B.

      The role of technology such as Galileo's telescope was crucial in providing convincing evidence to support one view over another.

    • C.

      Scientists work alone and do not use or build off each other's work, observations or measurements.

    • D.

      Mathematical logic plays a small role in calculating planetary motion

    Correct Answer
    B. The role of technology such as Galileo's telescope was crucial in providing convincing evidence to support one view over another.
    Explanation
    The answer accurately summarizes the changes in scientific thought concerning the motion of planetary bodies in our solar system. It acknowledges the importance of technology, specifically Galileo's telescope, in providing convincing evidence that supported the heliocentric model with elliptical orbits. This suggests that observations made through the use of technology played a crucial role in shaping scientific understanding and challenging previous beliefs about planetary motion.

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  • 19. 

    If you were an early astronomer, how could you prove if our planet orbited the Sun rather than the Sun orbit us? ( Check all that apply )

    • A.

      Show how interior planets (between the Sun and the Earth) show phases when observed from the Earth.

    • B.

      Explain how exterior planets "appear" to move backwards in the night sky because the Earth "catches and passes" these exterior planets due to our interior, shorter orbit.

    • C.

      Show how the east to west movement of everything in the night sky supports heliocentrism.

    • D.

      Show how the discovery of Jupiter's moons prove that not everything orbits the Earth.

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Show how interior planets (between the Sun and the Earth) show phases when observed from the Earth.
    B. Explain how exterior planets "appear" to move backwards in the night sky because the Earth "catches and passes" these exterior planets due to our interior, shorter orbit.
    D. Show how the discovery of Jupiter's moons prove that not everything orbits the Earth.
    Explanation
    The explanation for the given correct answer is that by showing how interior planets (between the Sun and the Earth) show phases when observed from the Earth, it proves that these planets are orbiting the Sun. This is because the phases of a planet are caused by the changing angles between the Sun, the planet, and the Earth as the planet orbits the Sun. Additionally, explaining how exterior planets "appear" to move backwards in the night sky because the Earth "catches and passes" these exterior planets due to our interior, shorter orbit also supports the idea of the Earth orbiting the Sun. Lastly, the discovery of Jupiter's moons proves that not everything orbits the Earth, further supporting the concept of heliocentrism.

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  • 20. 

    If we were on the former planet Pluto, which would you use to show there was another planet orbiting the Sun farther away from Pluto?

    • A.

      The movement of this planet from east to west across the night sky of Pluto

    • B.

      The "apparent" backwards motion of this planet in Pluto's night sky

    • C.

      The observation that this new planet had a faster orbit than Pluto

    • D.

      This planet possibly has orbiting moons

    Correct Answer
    B. The "apparent" backwards motion of this planet in Pluto's night sky
    Explanation
    The "apparent" backwards motion of a planet in Pluto's night sky is known as retrograde motion. Retrograde motion occurs when a planet appears to move in the opposite direction of its usual path across the night sky. This phenomenon can be observed from Pluto and would indicate the presence of another planet orbiting the Sun farther away from Pluto.

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  • Current Version
  • May 19, 2024
    Quiz Edited by
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  • Jan 30, 2010
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    Bfritz
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