Astronomy 161: Review Guide for First Quiz


The quiz will have 10 multiple choice questions, and it will occupy the first 20 minutes of Friday's class. If you're late, that's your problem ... in accordance with the makeup policy handed out last week (or see web page), you can only take a makeup quiz if you have notified me in advance that you will be absent. The quiz is closed book, but you may bring one page of handwritten notes, both sides. You can stuff as much as you want on the page, but my recommendation is that you try to record just the main points that you are not sure you will remember otherwise. You may bring a calculator, but you will not need it. Please bring a number 2 pencil.


The quiz will cover the material in Lectures 1-4, and the corresponding material in the book (chapters 1 through 4-2). Note, however, that "overview" material from Lecture 1 will not appear (since we didn't cover it in detail), so it's really only the stuff on angles that matters from Lecture 1. Note also that "Lecture 4: Ancient Greek Astronomy" will be completed today (Wednesday), and the quiz will cover everything through the end of it. However, it will not cover material appearing in the "Ptolemy and Copernicus" lecture (which will start today).

Names to know: Aristotle, Eudoxus, Eratosthenes, Aristarchus

Review Advice

My recommendation is to make sure that you are up to date with the reading and to spend a couple of hours going over the lecture notes, concentrating on any of the topics you found confusing. Make up your own handwritten notes as you go through this process. Think particularly about how to answer the "Key Questions" mentioned at the start of each lecture --- if you can run confidently through the answers to these questions in your head, then you will be in excellent shape for the quiz.

Quiz Advice

The test questions are multiple choice, and they are designed to test how well you understand the material covered in the course, including your ability to apply that understanding to a new situation. Some of them are relatively easy and some of them are quite challenging. There are no "trick" questions, but some of them do require a significant amount of thought, and the "wrong" answers are, of course, designed to sound plausible enough that you need to actually know the subject to get the right answer. It is important to read the questions and answers carefully. You should be able to tell yourself why the answer that you picked is the correct answer to the question that was asked. Note that a multiple choice can be a true statement without being the answer to the question (e.g., "the Earth looks circular in pictures from space" is true, but it is not a correct answer to the question "why did the Ancient Greeks think that the Earth is a sphere?").

Pay careful attention to questions that have choices like "none of the above" or "a and b but not c."

Our test generation software automatically randomizes the order of questions on the tests and the order of the multiple choices for each question, so that each test is unique. Please note that for true/false questions, "true" is sometimes answer (a) and sometimes answer (b) --- you have to look. This is an unavoidable consequence of the way the tests are generated.

Sample Questions

Here are eight questions that I could have picked for the quiz but didn't.

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Updated: 2005 April 6[dhw]