Skywise Unlimited

Astronomy Trivia


40 Questions, 1 point each. There is a button at the bottom of the page to tally your total score.
1. Just after New Moon, we can faintly see the part of the Moon that is still in shadow. What famous person is the first one known to recognize that this is from "earthshine" (sunlight reflected off the Earth, to the Moon, and back)?
Isaac Newton
Galileo Galilee
Leonardo da Vinci
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2. When there are two full moons in the same calendar month the second one is called a "Blue Moon." How often does this event happen on average?
Every 2 1/2 to 3 years
Every 3 1/2 to 5 years
Every 5 1/2 to 10 years
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3. What is the name of the most prominent crater on the Moon?
Tycho
Copernicus
Kepler
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4. In 1609 Galileo discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter. Three of them are named "Io", "Ganymede" and "Callisto." What did he name the other one?
Vesta
Europa
Amalthea
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5. What color is on the outside of the arc of a rainbow?
Red
Green
Blue
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6. How many (official) planets are in our solar system?
Ten
Nine
Eight
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7. How many tails does a comet have as it approaches the Sun?
One
Two
Three
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8. What did the Earth do in 1910 that caused unnecessary fear for many people around the world?
Nearly missed an asteroid.
Reversed its magnetic poles.
Passed through a comet tail.
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9. What object is sometimes called the Evening Star and sometimes called the Morning Star?
Vega
Virgo
Venus
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10. The Sun, Moon, and Planets move along a narrow path around the sky. What are the constellations along this path collectively called?
Zodiac
Analemma
Circumpolar
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11. What is the closest star to Earth?
Alpha Centauri
Proxima Centauri
Sun
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12. Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta are names for four of what type of objects?
Asteroids
Moons
Stars
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13. What occurs when the Earth passes through the debris left behind by a passing comet?
Meteor shower
Aurora
Occultation
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14. If the Earth were the size of a tennis ball, how big and how far away would the Sun be?
A basketball 12 miles away
24 feet across, 1/2 mile away
48 miles across, 126 miles away
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15. In 1066 King Harold of England saw something in the sky and considered it a sign of bad luck. What was it?
Comet Halley
Total solar eclipse
Meteor shower
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16. A large impact created the Chicxulub Crater on the Yucatan Peninsula. What other major event appears to coincide with this?
Formation of the Moon
Global warming
Extinction of the dinosaurs
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17. William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus and his sister discovered eight comets. What is her first name?
Elizabeth
Caroline
Victoria
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18. If our entire solar system could fit into a coffee cup, how big would our galaxy be (The Milky Way)?
Seattle
Washington State
North American Continent
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19. Edmond Halley (for which the comet is named) studied tides and the Earth's magnetism. What was the name of his ship?
Englewood Black
Amesbury Blue
Paramour Pink
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20. After the Sun and the planets, what is the largest body in the solar system?
Ganymede
Pluto
Earth's Moon
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21. What causes sunspots to appear on the surface of the Sun?
An object crashes in.
A burst of energy comes out.
The magnetic field is distorted.
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22. Why does Mars appear red?
Rust
Ice
Carbon Dioxide
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23. Which two planets, as seen from Earth, go through phases like the Moon?
Venus and Mercury
Venus and Mars
Jupiter and Mars
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24. What atmospheric effect can rarely be seen, and usually only for a second or two at the end of a sunset?
Gegenschein
Green Flash
Brocken Spectre
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25. What is the name given by some to the full moon nearest the winter solstice?
Witch's Moon
Hunter's Moon
Harvest Moon
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26. Which constellation does the Sun pass through, but is not part of the horoscope?
Orion
Leo Minor
Ophiuchus
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27. What celestial objects are named after characters in Shakespeare plays?
Some near-Earth asteroids
Some moons of Uranus
Some craters on Mercury
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28. Sometimes there is a ring around the Moon. What causes this?
Gravitational lensing
Micrometeroidal particles
Atmospheric ice crystals
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29. On average, how often does Comet Halley come to the inner solar system?
126 years
3016 years
76 years
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30. Who discovered Pluto?
Clyde Tombaugh
Percival Lowell
Tycho Brahe
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31. What effect led Edwin Hubble to discover the expansion of the Universe?
Microwave Background
Anisotropy
Redshift
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32. What is the primary cause of the seasons?
Tilt of Earth's axis
Inclination of Earth's orbit
Changing distance to the Sun
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33. What is the Sun mostly made of?
Hydrogen
Carbon
Helium
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34. What single factor determines a star's brightness, color, length of its life, and how it is to die?
Core temperature
Total mass
Volume
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35. What comet hunter composed a list of the most famous objects outside our solar system?
Charles Messier
Johannes Kepler
Pierre Laplace
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36. How many leap years are there in 400 years?
104
100
97
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37. Who figured out that the planets orbit in the shape of an ellipse instead of a circle?
Isaac Newton
Johannes Kepler
Edwin Hubble
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38. The HR Diagram compares a star's temperature to what?
Size
Mass
Luminosity
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39. What process caused the Moon to always present the same side towards Earth?
Plate Tectonics
Lunar Libration
Tides
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40. The precise position of the Sun at noon each day changes over a period of a year, describing a "figure 8" in the sky. What is this called?
The Analemma
Precession of the Equinox
Solar Constant
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