Astro 3 - Key Themes in My Test Bank
This is a generic list. I made this by looking at all the
~ 250 questions in my test bank. Remember that I make my quizzes and finals
fresh each semester, and you'll see roughly 120 questions drawn randomly from
this master test bank. For more help
in studying for your particular questions, refer to the study guide I handed
out and which is on-line for the Monday/Wednesday, and for the Monday evening
classes, which focuses in a different way on your particular exams. Looks
like a lot to learn here, right? But before you get depressed, realize that
your particular exams will only sample a small part of this, and all you need
is a 80% for an "A". You can do it!
Chap 0: Scientific Thinking
of "Chap 0" is important! Read it thoroughly and ask for any clarifications
steps of the scientific method
nature and psychological issues of pseudo-science.
Razor and Sagan's Corollary
of representing reality in our minds
fatal flaws with supernaturalism
Our Place in the Universe
of this material we will cover in more detail later so I have not written
questions on it. But, I do have a few introductory ideas for you to focus
definition of a light year, the general distance order of things out
there; planets, stars, galaxies.
- There are 4 forces in Nature, which account for pretty much all we see so far.
Earth and Sky
- How the seasons and the sky look different at different latitudes.
the sun moves across our sky differently during different seasons.
- How to
relate the phases of the moon and time of day to where the moon appears in
nature of lunar and solar eclipses; what phase they occur and the nature
of the shadows involved.
the cause of retrograde motion.
Gravity, Motion, Relativity
Kepler's 3 laws and their meaning
Newton's 3 Laws of Motion and their meaning
- Gravity - stronger with increasing mass and with decreasing separation of the gravitating objects
- Feel the force of gravity and how it would change if you were inside a spherical distribution of mass
as more than water at the beach - the cause of tides via gravity and what
aspects of a gravitating system will increase or decrease tidal force
tides and neap tides and how they relate to the position of sun, moon.
meaning of angular momentum and conservation of angular momentum
- (Astro 4 only) General
relativity = modern gravity, paths follow curvature of space, determined
by mass, energy density.
as electromagnetic waves in a particle form
two ways to produce photons.
electromagnetic spectrum and the names of the different energy or wavelength
bands in the spectrum. Which bands will pass through earth's atmosphere.
structure of the atom: nucleus and electrons in quantized orbits. Don't
memorize the names of atoms and how many protons! I want concepts.
and absorption of photons via electrons changing orbits in atoms, and how
these processes make the spectral "lines" in astronomical objects.
lines: produced by cool gas in front of a hot object
lines: produced by gas lit up from the side against a black background.
Doppler effects; photons "redshifted" to longer wavelength if source / observer
are moving apart; "blueshifted" if moving towards each other
the shape of a thermal spectrum, and the two thermal radiation laws: Hotter
objects are bluer. Hotter objects give off more total light.
* Large modern telescopes
are all reflecting telescopes, using mirrors and not lenses
* Imaging is done with
CCD detectors - digital for astronomers
* Only Visible and Radio
bands make it through the earth's atmosphere and can be studied from ground-based
* Light gathering is the
most important property of a telescope. Size matters, big!!
Formation of the Solar System
how we have detected solar systems around other stars
key features of our solar system any theory must explain: ~circular orbits,
co-planar, revolve in same direction, same plane as sun's equator.
planets vs. outer planets general properties; rocky, thin atmosphere vs. hydrogen/helium rich giants with small rocky cores.
roll of tides in the formation of our solar system, and the general formation
process, and age.
two regions of comets, Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt and where they are
- How planets lose their initial atmosphere;
the different processes that govern how a planet's atmosphere evolves.
age of the solar system; 4.6 billion years
The Terrestrial Worlds (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars,
origin of planets' interior heat; kinetic energy of collisions.
factors which govern how rapidly a planet loses heat
- How the rate of impacts on planets has
evolved since their formation
nature of the Greenhouse Effect
activity; nature and logic of why only Earth has it
of Martian water, magnetic field loss allowed solar wind to strip away atmosphere
* CO2 history of Earth - overall decline with geologic time. Carbonate rocks created by life pulling CO2 out of atmosphere
* Milankovich orbital cycles and the Ice Ages
* Modern global warming - firmly established to be caused by humans, mainly CO2 from fossil fuel burning
* climate denialism, debunking myths
The Jovian Planets
Jupiter and Saturn give off more heat than they receive
stretching and friction and its effect on planetary moons
rings; origin and composition
Asteroids, Comets, Meteoroids
between comets and meteor showers
dirty snowballs and the two tails that develop
asteroid belt; why did it form? Where is it?
two regions of comets; Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud; where they are
structure of the sun; layers
and the sunspot cycle
- balancing gravity, energy production, pressure. How changing one will
affect the structure of the star
relation to the solar corona, magnetic fields
Life in the Universe
Miller-Urey experiment created amino acids out of the chemistry, conditions
of the early Earth
K main sequence stars most likely to have living planets
- the only element permitted by the laws of physics which can be used to
make complex molecules, why needed for life.
argument for searching for radio communications near the main spectral lines
- mixing dirt and organic chemicals
can produce RNA, precursor to the first life?
- Know basic theory of evolution
by natural selection