Astronomy 200 Final Study Guide

Exam Format

  • Saturday, April 25, 1:00 pm
  • 2 hours
  • 60 multiple choice questions
  • From the following topics:

Topic One: Stars and Motion in the Heavens

Things to know:

  • terminology (asterism, magnitude, altitude, etc)
  • how to read a magnitude-brightness graph
  • how magnitudes work
  • celestial sphere, celestial poles and celestial equator
  • motion of Sun, Moon and planets in the sky
  • precession
  • how to find latitude and longitude from astronomical data

Topic Two: Lunar and Solar Eclipses

Things to know:

  • condition necessary for Lunar and Solar eclipses
  • kinds of eclipses
  • the Saros
  • how to predict eclipses using the Saros

Topic Three: Historical Ideas in Astronomy

Things to know:

  • early ideas in Greek astronomy.
  • astronomical ideas and motifs in other cultures
  • Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler - their contributions
  • Galileo and the "Galileo Affair" including arguments for and against Copernicanism
  • how Newton changed Astronomy and our view of the universe

Topic Four: Gravity, Light and Matter

Things to know:

  • the inverse square nature of gravity
  • orbits - how they work including concepts of circular and escape velocity
  • tides
  • Einstein's ideas on light, matter and energy
  • Einstein's idea of gravity as bending of space
  • telescopes (all diff rent kinds)
  • the electromagnetic spectrum and how concepts of photon, wavelength, frequency and energy are related
  • how atoms emit and absorb energy
  • bright line, absorption and continuous spectra

Topic Five : Atoms, Spectra and Stellar Classification

  • the blackbody spectrum
  • understand what continuous, brightline and absorption line spectra are and how to use them
  • know how to use Wien's and Stefan's Laws
  • know what colour-indices are and how they tell us temperature
  • how spectral lines tell us about temperature, density, composition and motion
  • what the Doppler Effect is and how to use the Doppler Shift formula
  • the spectral classification sequence and how to identify spectral types by major features in the spectrum

Topic Six : The Sun

  • be able to identify the major parts of the sun
  • explain sunspots, flares, coronal mass ejections, spicules etc
  • understand what the solar cycle is
  • know what the Babcock cycle refers to
  • understand why aurora happen and how they are related to the sunspot cycle
  • understand how the sun generates energy via fusion of hydrogen to helium

Topic Seven : The Stars

  • know how to use parallax
  • distinguish between apparent and absolute magnitudes
  • explain how star sizes can be estimated from spectral type and absolute and apparent magnitude
  • explain what the HR diagram is and how it tells us about the birth and evolution of stars
  • describe how stars form

Topic Eight : Stellar Evolution

  • how stars generate energy via pp and CNO cycles
  • how stars change as they age
  • how a star's "age" shows up on the HR diagram
  • the evolution and death of low mass stars (similar to Sol)
  • the evolution and death of high mass stars
  • the role of mass in determining the fate of a star
  • how stellar mass determines absolute magnitude and main sequence lifetime
  • neutron stars
  • black holes


Mathematical Considerations:

You should be able to do simple brightness-magnitude , parallax, distance -modulus, and use Kepler's Third Law.  Otherwise do not worry about lot's of math - The focus of the exam is conceptual.

Formulae will be provided!