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Midterm Information

Notes Sheet

You may have 1 page (8.5" x 11") of handwritten notes. The notes must be the original sheet in your own handwriting, no copies will be allowed. Note sheets will be collected after the exam but is not worth any points.

Take the practice exam at

You may take this as many times as you would like to practice answering possible exam questions. It is worth a participation grade which means that as long as you attempt it once you will get full credit; it is highly recommended that you take the practice exam more than once. Each time, 55 questions will be randomly pulled from the question bank. The actual midterm will be taken in this same manner although constructed response questions will be adde.



Study Guide

Unit: Introduction, Distance, Scale, Light
  • Parsecs, light years, kilometers and astronomical units
  • Science vs. Pseudoscience vs. nonscience
  • Hypothesis vs Theory vs Law
  • Explain the concept of parallax. Draw a diagram to illustrate how the concept works.
  • Describe why the Doppler Effect is important in astronomy.
  • List the colors of the visible spectrum in order from longest wavelength to shortest.
  • List the regions of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Define frequency, wavelength, and energy.
  • What is the formula to calculate frequency and wavelength?
  • Space observatories and what part of the EMS they look at
  • How looking out in space is looking back in time
  • How light is data
  • Blackbody Radiation
  • Know the structure of the universe including filaments, voids, superclusters
  • Characteristics of the universe including the relative amounts of light matter, dark matter and dark energy
  • Know the most common elements in the universe
  • Know how dark matter is detected and the effect of gravitational lensing
  • Know the properties of dark energy as opposed to gravity
  • Be able to explain the characteristics of the Big Bang, including a timeline of events and eons, how it was not an explosion, how there is no center to the universe because space was made as matter was, how the String Theory/M Theory describes the Big Bang as a collision of membranes
  • Evidence for the Big Bang - red shift, hubble's law, COBE and WMAP data leading to CMBR
  • Model for the expanding universe
  • What the universe looked like at its earlier stages
  • Possible futures of the universe based on geometry and critical density

  • Drain model for the galaxy
  • Be able to label the parts of galaxies
  • The size of the Milky Way in ly
  • Types of galaxies, relative ages and types/ages of stars they contain
  • Evolution of galaxies
  • Milky Way's collision with Andromeda
  • Evidence for where the solar system is in the Milky Way
  • Contents of the milky way, especially at the bulge
  • How our understanding of the Milky Way has evolved as technology has improved
  • Be able to classify galaxies in Hubble's Tuning Fork based on shape
  • Explain the Galaxy Zoo project, how it works and where the data comes from

  • Explain stellar evolution (life cycle of stars).
  • Define pulsars and quasars
  • Draw a sketch of the HR Diagram. Label white dwarfs, red giants, red supergiants, blue giants, main sequence, sun, and the stellar classifications of OBAFGKM.
  • Be able to define and apply the concept of luminosity.
  • Explain how scientists determine the mass, composition and temperature of stars
  • Know how we get data about stars
  • Describe the characteristics and properties of different stars
  • Know the parts of a black hole, their different varieties based on mass and how they affect objects in space-time
  • Essay question: Is the Sun Unique? Use the CEI format to write a paragraph that describes three pieces of evidence for or against the sun being unique.

What to Expect
We will meet in the tech lab the day of the midterm. You will turn in any late work before you begin the test. You will only be allowed to have your own note sheet out. The test will be protected by a secret password that will be given out once everyone is ready to go. The test will be 55 multiple choice/true false/odd one out questions and up to 5 essay/short answer questions. The questions you get will be randomly chosen by the Quia testing system from the bank of questions available to you on the practice exam. Each student will have a different version of the test. All tests, however, will cover the same topics listed above.