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Amateur Radio Quiz: In A Perfect Sol-itude


Amateur Radio Quiz: In A Perfect Sol-itude
H. Ward Silver, N0AX

With scientific data about our stellar parent beaming in from every quarter and sunspots popping up like crocuses in the spring, it seems appropriate to sample your solar savvy. You may find that you’re so bright, you gotta wear shades!

1) What is the name of the new space-based solar observatory?
b. Ulysses
c. SDO
d. Mariner I

2) Solar seismology allows scientists to view what aspect of the Sun?
a. photosphere
b. the Sun’s far side
c. the solar poles
d. the solar core

3) Why does it take charged particles longer than photons to travel from the Sun to Earth?
a. They can only escape the Sun at its poles.
b. Charged particles are repelled by the solar wind.
c. Charged particles from the Sun don’t travel at the speed of light.
d. They are often captured by Venus.

4) How long does it take for sunspots and other features on the Sun’s surface to rotate back to the same position?
a. 36 hours
b. 7 days
c. 27 days
d. 88 days

5) What two pieces of data are plotted on a “solar butterfly diagram”?
a. sunspot position and date
b. sunspot position and strength
c. solar flux and direction of the solar wind
d. sunspot cycle peak and year

6) How did the solar corona get its name?
a. It was first sighted during the coronation of Ferdinand I of Spain.
b. It looks like a crown during a total solar eclipse.
c. M. P. Corona predicted its existence based on the precession of Mercury’s orbit.
d. The British Royal Observatory discovered it in 1642.

7) What element is created as the end product of the Sun’s primary nuclear reaction?
a. hydrogen
b. helium
c. lithium
d. unobtanium

8) What gives the Sun its characteristic yellow color?
a. Sodium in the Sun’s outer atmosphere.
b. Absorption of all but yellow light by the Earth’s atmosphere.
c. Red-shifting of photons as they escape the Sun’s gravity.
d. The temperature of the Sun’s photosphere.

9) What is a solar prominence?
a. Large structures of hot gas extending outward from the Sun’s surface.
b. A sunspot large enough to be seen with the naked eye on Earth.
c. Excess UV radiation over a short period of time.
d. A mountaintop on which a solar observatory is constructed.

10) Which layer of the Sun has the highest temperature?
a. core
b. photosphere
c. corona
d. heliotrope

Bonus: What did Eddington observe the Sun doing to light that confirmed a prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity?



1. c -- Currently being commissioned, the Solar Dynamics Observatory may do for solar science what the Hubble Telescope did for visual astronomy.
2. b -- The seismic waves can be used to determine structure we cannot see directly.
3. c -- Charged particles in a magnetic field circle the field lines as they travel.
4. c -- This is the Sun’s period of rotation.
5. a -- The diagram shows where sunspots form at different points in the solar cycle.
6. b
7. b -- Hydrogen atoms are fused to create helium in a series of steps.
8. d -- Hotter stars are more blue and cooler stars are more red.
9. a -- Check out the Web site mentioned in the answer to Question 1 to see a huge example.
10. a

Bonus: Bending it, demonstrating that gravity can affect light as predicted by Einstein.



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