Test Topics HONS 160 spring 2018

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Test #1, Chapters 5 & 6
This one will be a matching test. On a matching test no notes are permitted. This test will be just like a long lab test with longer statements as need to uniquely identify the matching tern. There will be three pages with each one self-contained. One need only look for those terms on the same page as the statement for a match; however, the clever student will no doubt find the answers to some questions in a statement on another page.  The last page of the test will be our equation page.

For this test you will be expected to:


Chapter 5
  1. Match terms from the concept page with a statement clearly related to or about that term.
  2. Match symbols from the variables and constants in the equations on the formula page with the term the symbols stands for.
Chapter 6
  1. Match terms from the concept page with a statement clearly related to or about that term.
  2. Match symbols from the variables and constants in the equations on the formula page with the term the symbols stands for.

Test #2,  Chapters S2, S3, S4
This one will be a multiple choice test with written comments considered in assigning credit. The test will be administered in lab.

For this test you will be expected to:


Chapter S2 Special Relativity (SR), for this chapter be able to identify
  1. When SR applies and when GR applies.
  2. The principle of relativity and the two absolute quantities in  SR.
  3. How time, length and mass vary with high velocity.
  4. Why simultaneity is relative.
  5. What spacetime is and what is its significance.
  6. Experimental tests of SR.
  7. SR and nuclear power (tunneling + E = mc2).
  8. Statements correctly describing the twin paradox.
  9. Tests of SR.
Chapter S3, Genera Relativity (GR), on this test be able to identify:
  1. When SR applies and GR applies.
  2. The fundamental assumption of GR.
  3. The major ideas of GR.
  4. What is curved spacetime.
  5. How GR lensing tells us the mass of galaxy clusters.
  6. Gravity affects time.
  7. What gravity waves are and how they are made.
  8. Tests of GR.
Chapter S4, Building Blocks, on this test be able to identify:
  1. The difference between fermions and bosons and the kind of particles they represent. 
  2. The fundamental particles that are the building blocks of nature.
  3. The four fundamental forces in nature.
  4. Predictions made by the uncertainty principle and the exclusion principle.
  5. What the Schrodinger equation can tell us and what it cannot tell us.
  6. The cause of degeneracy pressure and its role in stars.
  7. How energy from the Sun and stars is related to tunneling.
  8. How the uncertainty principle tells us that a vacuum is not empty and how it has a "quantum foam".
  9. How the virtual particles of the quantum foam explain radiation from a black hole.

Test #3,  Chapters 14 & 15
For this test you will be expected to:

Chapter 14, Our Sun
  1. The stages of the fusion process in the Sun.
  2. The differences between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.
  3. Statements on how a nuclear power plant generates electricity.
  4. The processes that function as a solar thermostat.
  5. The changes that cause the Sun (and all "normal" stars) to brighten over time as it fuses H in its core. 

Chapter 15, Measuring Stars
  1. Determine the change in parallax angle that would result from changing the distance to a nearby star and answer general questions about parallax.
  2. Identify the difference between luminosity (L) and apparent brightness (b) and the difference between absolute magnitude (M) and apparent magnitude (m) and answer general questions about those quantities.
  3. Identify the information needed to determine the luminosity (L) or absolute magnitude (M) of a star.
  4. Identify how a star’s apparent magnitude (m) is related to its absolute magnitude (M).
  5. Rank stars with according to surface temperature from a list of stars of different colors.
  6. Identify the quantities astronomers measure in order to calculate the radius of a star.
  7. Identify on an H-R diagram the regions corresponding to the main sequence, giants, supergiants, and white dwarfs.
  8. Rank stars on an H-R diagram according to size, mass, temperature and luminosity.
  9. Estimate the relative masses of a main sequence stars from their locations on an H-R diagram.
  10. Calculate the distance to a Cepheid variable given its period of pulsation and its apparent magnitude.
  11. Identify the information needed to compute the mass of an orbiting system using Newton's version of Kepler's third law.
  12. Compute the sum of the masses in a simple binary star systems give the period and semi-major axis.
  13. Determine the apparent magnitude of a star given its distance and its absolute magnitude.
  14. Identify how the radius of a star can be computed from it temperature and its luminosity.
  15. Estimate the relative masses and relative lifetimes of main sequence stars from their locations on an H-R diagram.
  16. Distinguish between the two basic types of star clusters.
  17. Identify the reason for two different populations of stars and the differences between Population I and Population II stars.


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

Chapter 16 Star Formation
  1. Identify an explanation of why stars form most easily in interstellar gas clouds that are both cold and dense.
  2. Identify an explanation of why contracting gas clouds with masses less than 0.08 solar masses fail to achieve energy balance through steady nuclear fusion.
  3. Identify an explanation of why contracting gas clouds with masses greater than about a hundred solar masses fail to form stable lasting stars.
  4. Identify a star's characteristics predicted by its mass.

Chapter 17 Star Stuff (The Lives of Stars)

  1. Identify why a star as a whole expands when it exhausts its core hydrogen fuel and the core contracts.
  2. Identify what is happening and why inside and outside a solar type star
    1. as a protstar
    2. at the ZAMS
    3. on the main sequence
    4. on the red giant branch
    5. on the horizontal branch
    6. on the asymptotic branch and
    7. as a white dwarf
  3. Identify an explanation of why the helium fusion reaction requires a higher temperature than hydrogen fusion.
  4. Identify what kind of star in what stage of its life is know as a carbon star.
  5. Identify what happens to the core of a star after a planetary nebula forms.
  6. Identify in broad terms explain how the life of a high-mass star differs from that of our Sun.
  7. Identify why iron will not fuse in a normal star's core no matter how high the temperature.

Chapter 18 Star Death

  1. Identify how the characteristics of a white dwarf and how its size depends on its mass.
  2. Identify a description of the model for making a nova.
  3. Identify a description of the model for making a white dwarf supernova.
  4. Identify a description of the model for a pulsar.
  5. Identify the evidence needed to detect a neutron star that is not a pulsar.
  6. Identify a description of the model for making an x-ray binary in a close binary system.
  7. Identify a description of the model for making a x-ray burster in a close binary system.
  8. Identify the reason why an x-ray binary can have a neutron star or a black hole while an x-ray burster can have only a neutron star.

Chapter 19 Our Galaxy

  1. Identify the main components of our galaxy (disk, bulge, and halo) and for each component identify the specific objects found there, the kind of orbits followed by objects there and the characteristics of the stars found there.
  2. Identify the stages in order of how our galaxy recycles gas and dust from dying stars into new stars. (Figure 19.3 and text)
  3. Identify how metallicity of star populations change over time.
  4. Identify how can we use orbital properties to learn about the mass of the galaxy.
  5. Evaluate the evidence for a supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy.
  6. Identify the evidence that suggests that the Milky Way formed from the merger of smaller protogalactic clouds.




The Final Exam
For our final exam you will be expected to: