PHYS-1000 Final Exam Study Guide Fall 2012

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1 This study guide is for the final exam of the course, covering chapters 1 through 5 and 7 through 13. You are responsible for all material in these chapters referenced from this guide as well as the corresponding material listed on the course website. Of this material, it is most important that you understand and can answer the following questions. Chapter 1: Our Place in the Universe What is our place in the universe, i.e. how does the planet Earth fit in the various structures that make up the universe? What is the origin of the universe? How can we know what the universe was like in the past? Can we see the entire universe? How big is Earth compared to our solar system? How far away are the stars? How is Earth moving in our solar system? How is our solar system moving in the Milky Way Galaxy? Chapter 2: Discovering the Universe For Yourself What does the universe look like from Earth? Why do stars rise and set? Why do the constellations we see depend on latitude and time of year? What causes the seasons? How does the orientation of Earth s axis change with time? Why do we see phases of the Moon? What causes eclipses? Why was planetary motion so hard to explain, i.e. how does retrograde motion complicate theories of planetary motion? Why did the ancient Greeks reject the real explanation for planetary motion? What was Aristarchus contribution to ancient Greek astronomy? What was the significance of Tycho Brahe s Uraniborg? Chapter 3: The Science of Astronomy How did the Greeks explain planetary motion? How did Copernicus, Tycho, and Kepler challenge the Earth-centered model? What are Kepler s three laws of planetary motion? How did Galileo solidify the Copernican revolution? How can we distinguish science from nonscience? What is a scientific theory? How is astrology different from astronomy? 1 / 5

2 Does astrology have any scientific validity? Chapter 4: Making Sense of the Universe How do we describe motion? How is mass different from weight? How did Newton change our view of the universe? What are Newton s three laws of motion? Why do objects move at constant velocity if no force acts on them? What keeps a planet rotating and orbiting the Sun? Where do objects get their energy? What determines the strength of gravity? How does Newton s law of gravity extend Kepler s laws? How do gravity and energy allow us to understand orbits? How does gravity cause tides? Why do all objects fall at the same rate? Chapter 5: Light and Matter How do we experience light? How do light and matter interact? What is light? What is the electromagnetic spectrum? What is the structure of matter? What are the phases of matter? How is energy stored in atoms? What are the three basic types of spectra? How does light tell us what things are made of? How does light tell us the speed of a distant object? How does light tell us the rotation rate of a distinct object? How does the ancient Greeks original atomic theory differ from modern atomic theory? Chapter 7: Our Planetary System What does the solar system look like? What are the general characteristics of the various bodies in the solar system? What can we learn by comparing the planets to one another? What features of our solar system provide clues to how it formed? What is Mike Brown s argument against Pluto and Eris being classified as planets? What are the different types of robotic missions to space? 2 / 5

3 Unit conversion as done in the Scales of the Solar System lab. Chapter 8: Formation of the Solar System What properties of our solar system must a formation theory explain? What theory best explains the features of our solar system? Where did the solar system come from? What caused the orderly patterns of motion in our solar system? Why are there two major types of planets? How did the terrestrial planets form? How did the jovian planets form? What ended the era of planet formation? Where did asteroids and comets come from? How do we explain exceptions to the rules? How do we explain the existence of our Moon? Was our solar system destined to be? How does radioactivity reveal an object s age? When did the planets form? What is the Nice Model? Chapter 9: Planetary Geology What are terrestrial planets like on the inside? What causes geological activity? Why do some planetary interiors create magnetic fields? What processes shape planetary surfaces? How do impact craters reveal a surface s geological age? Why do the terrestrial planets have different geological histories? What geological processes shaped our Moon? What geological processes shaped Mercury? What are the major geological features of Mars? What geological evidence tells us that water once flowed on Mars? What are the major geological features of Venus? Does Venus have plate tectonics? How do we know that Earth s surface is in motion? How is Earth s surface shaped by plate tectonics? Was Earth s geology destined from birth? What method do astronomers use to determine the age of a body s surface? 3 / 5

4 Chapter 10: Planetary Atmospheres What is an atmosphere? How does the greenhouse effect warm a planet? Why do atmospheric properties vary with altitude? What creates wind and weather? What is the Coriolis Effect? What factors can cause long-term climate change? How does a planet gain or lose atmospheric gases? Do the Moon and Mercury have any atmospheres? What is Mars like today? Why did Mars change? What is Venus like today? How did Venus get so hot? How did Earth s atmosphere end up so different? Why does Earth s climate stay relatively stable? How does the Earth s CO 2 cycle work? How is human activity changing our planet? How does Earth s orbit and tilt vary over time? What causes the Milankovitch cycles? What effect might sunspots have on Earth s climate? What evidence from fossils are used in paleo-climate research? Chapter 11: Jovian Planet Systems Are jovian planets all alike? What are jovian planets like on the inside? What is the weather like on jovian planets? Do jovian planets have magnetospheres like Earth s? What kinds of moons orbit the jovian planets? Why are Jupiter s Galilean moons so geologically active? What is remarkable about Titan and other major moons of the outer solar system? Why are small icy moons more geologically active that small rocky planets? What are Saturn s rings like? How do other jovian ring systems compare to Saturn s? Why do the jovian planets have rings? What type of atmospheric conditions did the Galileo probe encounter as it descended into Jupiter s atmosphere in December 1995? Why did it take over 200 years for astronomers to fully understand what Saturn s rings are? 4 / 5

5 What contributions to the field of astronomy did Galileo, Huygens, and Cassini make? Chapter 12: Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets What are asteroids like? Why is there an asteroid belt? Where do meteorites come from? What are comets like? Where do comets come from? How big can a comet be? What are the large objects of the Kuiper Belt like? Are Pluto and Eris planets? Have we ever witnessed a major impact? How do the jovian planets affect impact rates and life on Earth? Did an impact kill the dinosaurs? Is the impact threat a real danger or media hype? What are the Torino Impact Hazard Scale and Sentry Risk Table? What are some of the proposed methods to prevent a potentially severe impact? What is the name of the meteorite Stephen Colbert licked? Chapter 13: Other Planetary Systems Why is it so difficult to detect planets around other stars? How do we detect planets around other stars? What method of detection has been the most successful to date? What have we learned about extrasolar planets? How do extrasolar planets compare with planets in our solar system? Can we explain the surprising orbits of many extrasolar planets? Do we need to modify our theory of solar formation? How will we search for Earth-like planets? How might we detect moons around extrasolar planets? 5 / 5

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