Study Questions - Idea 1 (Chapter 2) B. Ellman Section 005


1. Generally speaking, how did ancient (e.g., Egyptian) explanations of natural phenomena differ from those of modern science?

2. Define "Physics" as best you can.

3. What is an "experiment" - give an example.

4. Contrast science and technology.

5. Write the number 112000000000 in scientific notation.

6. Recalling our discussion of how whether a person seems old or not depends on the age and circumstances of the person judging, think of another example of how a characteristic scale

may affect the answer to a simple question.

7. Suppose you stayed out all night and watched a clear night sky - what would you see? Be as specific as you can.

8. What is the "celestial sphere"?

9. What is retrograde motion?

10. How do the motions of the planets differ from those of the stars?

11. What does "geocentric" mean? How about "heliocentric"?

12 What shape was considered "perfect" by the ancient Greeks and why?

13. Name a few reasons why geocentric models were favored until the time of Copernicus.

14. What was Aristotle's model of the Universe? How about Ptolemy's?

15. What observations did the model of Aristotle fail to explain?

16. What was an "eccentric"? What was an epicycle?

17. Draw a sketch explaining how Ptolemy's epicycles explained retrograde motion.

18. Why was Copernicus unsatisfied with Ptolemy's model?

19. Describe Copernicus' simple model.

20. How did Copernicus' model explain retrograde motion and the changing distance between the Earth and other Planets? Draw a sketch.

21. Who was Giordano Bruno?

22. Describe Tycho Brahe's main contributions to Astronomy.

23. What do comets and exploding stars (supernovae) have to do with the shift from geocentric to heliocentric models of the solar system?

24. What is parallax and how does it enter the story of the nature of the Universe?

25. Name of observations Galileo made with his fancy new telescope that threw a monkey wrench into the old geocentric models of the universe.

26. What happened to Galileo?

27. What is an "ellipse"? Draw a diagram.

28. What are Kepler's three laws? Don't just copy some definitions! Make sure you really understand at least the first two (the third is certainly more complicated and you are not responsible for it).

29. Name the 9 planets in order.

30. Which is the biggest planet and what is it made of (roughly speaking)?

31. Venus is hotter than mercury but closer to the sun! Why? What does the answer have to do with current events here on the Earth?

32. What is the Sun made of?

33. Name two ways a star can die - one gentle, the other violent!

34. Is there life on Mars? Explain your answer.

35. What is the "Big Bang"?

36. What is the "Kuiper's belt"?