PES 106 – General Astronomy II – Exam #1 Study Guide
Fundamentals of Astronomy
Gravity and Motion
Know the general properties of matter and their definitions – mass, volume, density, inertia, gravity.
What is scientific notation?
Know what the speed of light is, and what a light year is.
What is the nearest star to the sun, and about how far away is it?
How does the scientific method improve scientific knowledge?
Understand the basic concepts of Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravity
Know the meanings of basic features of satellite orbits – inclination, eccentricity, retrograde
Know the meanings of basic motion terms – acceleration, angular momentum
Light and Atoms
How are the properties of light (color, wavelength, frequency, energy, temperature) used in astronomy?
What is meant by wave/particle duality in dealing with light?
What are the four fundamental forces of nature?
How is the light from stars used in measuring their properties (relative motion, position, temperature,
Know the common regions of the electro-magnetic spectrum in order of frequency and/or wavelength.
How is spectroscopy used in astronomy?
How are emission and absorption spectra different? How are they the same? How are they used to detect the
composition and amount of elements in stars?
What properties of stars does Wien’s Law link together?
Know the basic building blocks of atoms (protons, neutrons and electrons) and how they behave.
What is color, and how is it formed with emitted light? With absorbed light?
Understand the meaning and effect of the Doppler shift (red- and blue-shift) in the spectrum of a star.
Survey of the Solar System
What distinguishes the terrestrial planets from the jovian planets, or gas giants?
What is the Solar Nebula Hypothesis? What is the chain of particles in the accretion process for this model?
How does gas and ice condensation play a role in the formation of the solar system?
Know the difference between the asteroid belt, the Oort Cloud, and the Kuiper Belt.
How do the properties of the orbits of the planets (inclination, eccentricity, orbit direction) strengthen the Solar
nebula Hypothesis?
What is the approximate age of the solar system?
How does Bode’s “Law” relate to the locations of the planets of the solar system?
The Sun
Know the relative size of the Sun to Earth in terms of diameter (or radius), volume, mass.
Know the range of density and temperature within the sun.
Know the source of energy for the sun, how long energy takes to move outward, the hydrogen conversion rate.
Know the structure and features of the sun: the core, the radiative and convection zones, and the photosphere.
Know the structure and features of the sun’s atmosphere: the chromosphere, the corona, the solar wind.
Understand the basic process of nuclear fusion within the sun: the proton-proton chain; what elements start the
process and what items are produced by this process.
What are some properties and uses of solar neutrinos?
How are the magnetic field of the sun and sunspots, prominences and solar flares related?
How is the Solar cycle related to sunspots?
How does the sun’s magnetic field heat the corona?

PES 106 – General Astronomy II – Exam #1 Study... Fundamentals of Astronomy