ASTR 1P01/02: Introduction to Astronomy I/II
Practice Questions

Please solve the following questions. This is not an assignment, it will not be graded, and you do not need to submit your solutions to anyone. The questions are simply intended to help you practice for the exam.

These questions will not appear in the exam itself. Students who don't genuinely attempt to solve the questions on their own, and only memorize the solutions, will have a very hard time in the actual exam!

These questions are not multiple-choice, to encourage you to think of the answers on your own, but the questions in the actual exam will be multiple-choice.

If you need any clarifications for these questions, you can ask for them on the course Teams channel.

Question 1

What were two practical uses of astronomy in the ancient world?

Question 2

List 5 different ways to prove that the Earth is round.

Question 3

What is stellar parallax? How did this concept lead the Greeks to believe, incorrectly, that the Sun was moving around the Earth? What information were they missing to conclude that the Earth actually moves around the Sun?

Question 4

How did Eratosthenes measure the circumference of the Earth? (Describe the experiment in words, there's no need to explain the math, unless you want to.)

Question 5

What is precession? Why does it cause stars to appear to move around in the sky over many thousands of years?

Question 6

Astrologers (but not astronomers) assign special significance to dates when planets move "in retrograde". Do the planets actually move backwards when this happens? If not, what causes this motion? Does it have any special significance?

Question 7

What are epicycles? What problem did Ptolemy attempt to solve when he introduced them? Did they solve the problem?

Question 8

What are two ways in which Ptolemy's model of the solar system is incorrect?

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