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ASTRONOMY TRIVIA

1) There are many theories about the birth of our solar system. Which theory involves a passing star pulling dust and debris from the forming sun?


There are many theories about the birth of our solar system. The Tidal Theory (or Chamberlain-Moulton Theory) suggests that a passing star pulled dust and debris from the forming Sun, leaving a string of debris that eventually formed the planets.

2) The planets make up what percentage of the mass in our solar system?


The planets make up only 0.135% of the mass in our solar system. The Sun dominates, accounting for 99.86% of the entire solar system's mass. Other factors include satellites (0.00004%) and comets (0.00003%).

3) What are the only two planets in our solar system without moons?


Mercury & Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons. Saturn has the most moons, with more than sixty.

4) What is the name of Pluto's moon?


Discovered by James Christy in 1978, Pluto's moon is named Charon. With a diameter of 1,172 kilometers (728 miles), Charon is just under half the size of Pluto. Due to this very small difference in size, some scientists consider Pluto and Charon to be a double (dwarf) planet.

5) The three main parts of a comet are the nucleus, the tail, and the _____?


Comets have three main parts: the nucleus, the coma, and the tail. The coma consists of gases and dust around the nucleus.

6) What year boasted the first woman in space?


1963 boasted the first woman in space: Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova. Selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6, she completed 48 orbits of the Earth in her three days in space.

7) What is the term for the condition when three celestial bodies are arranged in a straight line?


Syzygy is the condition when three celestial bodies are arranged in a straight line--as, for example, when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are aligned during solar and lunar eclipses.

8) Which of the following was discovered in 2002?


Quaoar was discovered in 2002. Roughly half the size of Pluto, Quaoar is classified as a "Kuiper Belt object".

9) What manned U.S. space program eventually put 12 men on the Moon?


The Apollo program was a manned U.S. space program that eventually put 12 men on the Moon. The first Apollo mission to circle the Moon was Apollo 8, and the first to land was Apollo 11. Apollo 13 never landed because of an accident en route that required the spacecraft to return to Earth after swinging around the far side of the Moon. The last Apollo mission to land on the Moon was Apollo 17.

10) From 1978 to 1999, which planet was farthest from the Sun?


Becauseo of Pluto's irregular orbit, Neptune was actually the farthest planet from the Sun between 1978 and 1999.


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