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Astronomy Course Quiz 2017

To get a Certificate of Achievement for taking the 2016 Bruce Betts Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class, a Random Space Fact (RSF) is given in each class designed to be "the" RSF that users will have to recognize later to get the certificate.

Note: even the "incorrect" choices will be valid scientific facts, just not those identified in the classes.

 
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Lecture 1: Tour of the Solar System
Lightning twice struck the Saturn V rocket carrying Apollo 12.
12 people have walked on the surface of the Moon.
1000 Earths could fit inside Jupiter and about 1000 Jupiters could fit inside the Sun.
The sun is about 440000 times brighter than the full moon and the full moon is more than 30000 times brighter than the brightest star.
Lecture 2: How We Explore Space
The International Space Station covers an area approximately equal to the area of a football field.
The wavelength of light equals the speed of light divided by the frequency of that light.
Radar has been used to penetrate the atmospheres of cloud covered planetary bodies including Venus and Titan.
The International Space Station is visible in the night sky if you look at the right time, looking like a very bright star moving across the sky.
Lecture 3: Telescopes, Eclipses, and The Moon
The Moon is 1000x farther away than the International Space Station.
The surface area of the Moon is approximately equal to the surface area of Africa.
The Moon is gradually getting farther away from the Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope primary mirror is 2.4 meters in diameter.
Lecture 4: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars atmospheres
Mercury is in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance.
The Mars atmosphere is made primarily of carbon dioxide.
Earth's atmosphere is primarily made of molecular nitrogen and molecular oxygen.
The Sun in the Mercury sky at its closest point in its orbit to the Sun is 3x the diameter compared to what is seen from Earth (9x the area).
Lecture 5: Venus and Mars
We have images from four locations on the surface of Venus. (USSR's Venera 9, 10, 13, 14)
Mars' seasonal polar caps are made primarily of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice).
The surface pressure on Venus is approximately equal to the surface pressure 1 km (about 3000 feet) under the surface of the Earth's ocean.
Venus has the slowest rotation rate of any planet in the solar system. Venus also rotates retrograde, which means the Sun rises in the west.
Lecture 6: Mars
There are resonance gaps in the asteroid belt called Kirkwood gaps.
As seen from the surface of Mars, Phobos rises in the West and sets in the East.
All Mars rovers have had six wheels.
Mars' moon Phobos orbits Mars in < 8 hours, so completes 3 orbits in one Mars day, and rises in the west and sets in the east.
Lecture 7: Asteroids and the Asteroid Threat
Most scientists believe the extinction of the dinosaurs and 70% of the species on Earth was triggered by an asteroid impact.
Ceres has more than 25% of the mass of the asteroid belt.
The largest asteroid by far is 1 Ceres. It is 933 km in diameter and contains about 25% of the mass of all the other asteroids combined.
Every day, about 100 tons of material from space hits the Earth's atmosphere.
Lecture 8: Jupiter and Saturn
Saturn is the most oblate (flattened) planet in our solar system. Its spin causes it to be 10% "fatter" measured at the equator compared to measured at the poles.
Jupiter's four largest moons are named the Galilean Satellites after their discoverer: Galileo.
We have observed hexagonal cloud features at the poles of Saturn.
Jupiter's moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
Lecture 9: Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune
Titan's atmospheric surface pressure is about 1.5 times that of Earth.
If the main Saturn rings (A-D) were the thickness of a DVD, that DVD would have a diameter of > 33 km (22mi).
The blue color of the Uranian and Neptunian atmospheres is primarily caused by methane.
All 4 giant planets in our Solar System have ring systems.
Lecture 10: Neptune and Trans Neptunian Objects including Pluto and KBOs
Transneptunian objects are very large, a few are larger than Ceres, the biggest asteroid, and many are larger than Pallas and Vesta the second and third largest asteroids.
Tidal effects that Pluto and Charon exert on each other have locked the two bodies into mutual spin-orbit resonance, meaning that one face of Charon always looks at Pluto while one face of Pluto always looks at Charon.
Triton is the only large moon in the solar system to orbit retrograde, the opposite direction of Neptune's rotation.
Five spacecraft on trajectories to leave the solar system: Pioneers 10 and 11, Voyagers 1 and 2, and New Horizons.
Lecture 11: The Outer Solar System and Origin of the Solar System
Each LightSail spacecraft is about the size of a loaf of bread.
Comet tails always point approximately away from (the opposite direction from) the Sun.
The Deep Impact mission slammed a ball of copper into a comet at high speeds.
Self-gravitational collapse of gas and dust began the formation of the Solar System.
Lecture 12: Exoplanets, the Sun, and Solar Physics
As of 2016, most of the exoplanets known were discovered using Kepler spacecraft
The Kepler spacecraft repeatedly observed approximately 150,000 stars in the constellation Cygnus.
Most exoplanets have been discovered either using the radial velocity method or the transit method.
The radial velocity technique uses Doppler shifts to observe the wobble of a star caused by one or more planets.
Lecture 13: The Sun (cont.) and Stars
The Sun has the mass equivalent to approximately 333,000 Earths.
The star Betelgeuse in Orion is bigger than the size of Mars' orbit, and possibly as large as Jupiter's.
The Earth Moon system (384,000) would easily fit within the diameter of the Sun (1.4 million km).
The gravity at the surface of a neutron star is more than 100 billion times the gravity at the surface of the Earth.
Lecture 14: Galaxies, the Universe, and Life
All Earth life requires liquid water.
The Milky Way Galaxy is approximately 100,000 light years across.
The age of the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old (time since the Big Bang).
The Andromeda Galaxy, 2 million light years away, can be seen with the unaided eye from a dark viewing location.
astronaut on Phobos
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