Test Topics HONS 159 fall 2017

jump to:     Test #2       Test #3       Test #4       Exam   


Test #1, Chapters 1 & 2
For this test you will be expected to:

Chapter 1
  1. ***Identify a correct arrangement of the basic levels of structure in the universe in order of increasing or decreasing size. (Your cosmic address)
  2. Know the planets of our Solar System from the Sun outward. (My very eager mother just served us noodles.)
  3. ***Identify the reason for and the consequences of the fact that we see objects at great distances as they were in the distant past.
  4. Identify the various motions of the Earth through space. (rotation, orbiting, precession, movement with the rest of the solar system) and what changes we see because of each motion.
  5. Identify how the average distances between galaxies are changing with time.
Chapter 2
  1. ***For each of the locations on Earth:
      1. North Pole
      2. South Pole
      3. equator
      4. Charleston, SC (latitude 32.7), and
      5. Perth, Western Australia (latitude -32.0)
    1. ***Be able to identify aspects of the local sky including the location of
      1. the celestial poles
      2. celestial equator and
      3. the ecliptic
      4. and the path of the Sun in the sky for
        1. summer
        2. winter
        3. spring and
        4. fall
    2. ***and identify which group of stars (if any) are circumpolar.
  2. ***Deduce the phase on the Moon from the relative positions of the Sun, Moon, and Earth given a diagram of the geometry.
  3. ***Deduce the approximate rise, transit and set times of the Moon for each of the lunar phases.
  4. Distinguish the cause for the difference between total solar eclipses and annular eclipses.
  5. ***Identify why eclipse seasons are six months apart.
  6. Identify why Earth's orbital motions should cause small shifts in the apparent positions of nearby stars.



Test #2,  Chapters 3 & 4
For this test you will be expected to:

Chapter 3
  1. Answer questions about Kepler's three laws of planetary motion.
  2. Identify why "real science" never "proves" an idea.
  3. Identify some of the characteristics of pseudoscience. LINK
  4. Identify the most important hallmark of pseudoscience.
  5. Identify the role of Occam's razor in scientific thinking.
  6. Distinguish between scientific theories, hypotheses, and laws. LINK

Chapter 4

  1. Identify correct statements using the concepts of
    1. mass and
    2. weight.
  2. Identify in simple situations correct statements about the concepts of
    1. speed
    2. velocity
    3. acceleration
  3. Identify correct statements about the relationship between momentum and net force.
  4. ***Identify correct statements about
    1. angular momentum in general
    2. in orbits and
    3. in other simple situations.
  5. ***Identify the importance of conservation laws in astronomy as they apply to
    1. momentum
    2. angular momentum
    3. kinetic energy
    4. gravitational potential energy.
  6. Identify, using the law of conservation of angular momentum, statements that correctly predict how a rotating or orbiting system will respond to a change in radius.
  7. Identify statements that correctly relate the concept of temperature to the motion and energy of particles in a sample.
  8. ***Calculate the relative strength of gravity in simple situations.
  9. Identify the information needed to compute the mass of an orbiting system using Newton's version of Kepler's third law.
  10. Identify correct statements of the cause of the Earth's ocean tides and its effect on the Earth-Moon system over time.


Test #3, Chapters 7 & 8
For this test you will be expected to:

Chapter 7 Our Planetary System

  1. Answer general questions regarding the patterns and exceptions seen in the planets of our solar system.
  2. Answer general questions regarding Bennett's four major features that provide clues to how the solar system formed.

Chapter 8 Formation of the Solar System

  1. Identify answers to questions about how the nebular model of solar system formation explains each of the patterns we found in Chapter 7.
  2. Identify answers to questions about how the nebular model of solar system accounts for Bennett's four major features about the solar system.
  3. Identify answers to these four questions Bennett asks:
    1.  Why are there two major types of planets?
    2.  How did the terrestrial planets form?
    3.  How did the jovian planets form?
    4.  What ended the era of planet formation?
  1. Identify answers to these three questions Bennett asks:
    1. Where did the asteroids and comets come from?
    2.  How do we explain the exceptions?
    3.  How do we explain the existence of our Moon?
  2. Identify statements about the principle of "clocks in rocks".
Chapter 9 Geology of the Terrestrial Worlds
  1. Identify an explanation of the processes by which planetary interiors get hot and cool off.
  2. Identify why small planets (or small pots on your stove) cool faster than large ones.
  3. Identify the reasons why the Earth has a strong magnetic field and the other terrestrial worlds do not.
  4. Predict the characteristics of a terrestrial planet from its mass, distance from the Sun and rotation rate.
  5. Identify an explanation of what we learn about the age of a planetary surface from crater counts.
  6. Predict a mythical planet's relative level of impact cratering, volcanism, tectonics, and erosion based on the planet's diameter, distance from its star, and its rotation rate.
  7. Identify a description of the factors that drive plate tectonics on Earth and how we know about those conditions inside the Earth.
  8. Identify an explanation of the mechanism of formation for each of the following: seafloor crust, continental crust, a volcanic island, a mountain range, a rift valley, and a fault.
  9. Identify an explanation of the how the geology of each terrestrial world was determined by its mass and location in the solar system.


Test #4
For this test you will be expected to:

Chapter 10  Terrestrial Planet Atmospheres
  1. ***Identify a prediction of how changes in a planet's reflectivity would affect its surface temperature.
  2. Identify a description of how greenhouse gases trap heat and increase the surface temperatures of terrestrial planets.
  3. Identify an explanation of why Venus is so much hotter than Earth.
  4. ***Identify an explanation of how Earth's carbon dioxide cycle helps keep its climate stable.
Chapter 11 Jovian Planets and their Moons
  1. Identify a description of the interior structure of a jovian planet.
  2. Identify a description of how tidal forces affect geological activity on jovian moons.
  3. Identify the reasons some jovian moons are likely locations for find life in our Solar System.
  4. ***Identify an explanation of why jovian moons exhibit more geological activity than small rocky planets.

Chapter 12 Asteroids, Comets & Dwarf Planets
  1. Describe the major patterns we find among the objects orbiting the Sun.
  2. Explain how the nebular theory accounts for the existence of asteroids and comets.
  3. Distinguish between comets, asteroids, meteors, and meteorites.
  4. Explain how meteor showers are related to comets.
  5. Discuss why scientists no longer classify Pluto as a major planet.

Chapter 13 Other Planetary Systems 
  1. ***Identify the information needed to compute the mass of an orbiting system using Newton's version of Kepler's third law.
  2. Explain why direct detection of extrasolar planets is difficult.
  3. Describe how extrasolar planets have been indirectly detected through observations of their host stars.
  4. Discuss how the characteristics of extrasolar planets have led to revisions of the nebular theory.


The Final Exam
For our final exam consider the following points.
  1. No extraterrestrial aliens are scheduled to appear on the upcoming final exam. Do I hear a few shouts of joy or sighs of relief?
  2. There will be 30, 33 or 40 questions.
  3. There will be some surprising discovery questions
  4. The test topics above have been tweaked for the final exam with many previous ones omitted.
  5. Any topic preceded by 3 asterisks (***) are topics I remember a number of students having trouble with over the years. The asterisk does not indicate that I will be asking a question on that topic, but rather a signal to be sure you the topic or concept down pat so to speak.
  6. As is the usual case this exam allows you to have your notes but no textbook, worksheets from class or homework papers. However you can make any notes about those documents that you wish and bring those resources to the test. Some students like to xerox graphs, etc. from the textbook and doing so is fine but more cognitive benefit will probably result from making a quick sketch of them in your notes. You may print and bring any notes I have posted online and any notes of your own from class or from your reading.