Astronomy 20 Honors  Take Home Test

Rules: The honor system applies, so please act honorably. You may NOT work with others, whether they are in the class or not. The ONLY exceptions to this rule are the El Camino College astronomy tutor and you may consult me for help. All published, written materials are available to you. Written correspondence is not, of course. You should find chapter 15 in your text to be most useful.

Answers are to be typed. Sketches may be freehand. Please proof read your exam prior to turning it in. You will be marked down for poor writing or sloppy work. Answers are to be IN YOUR OWN WORDS.


Q1. Illustrate and describe, in general terms how the solar system formed. Show the formation taking place in several phases. These phases should include at least the initial gaseous and accretion phase, the planetismal phase, and as planet formation finishes up. Be sure to illustrate and describe the conditions in the accretion disk. This may take one or more pages to illustrate and describe properly. 20 points.

Q2. Using your answer to Q1, describe why all of the planets orbit in the same direction and almost all of them rotate in the same direction. 5 points.

Q3. Using your answer to Q1, describe why Mercury is mostly iron and the trend is for lower density as you move away from the Sun. 5 points.

Q4. Describe the role that ice plays early in the formation of the gas giants. Why are all of the gas giants located in the outer solar system? 5 points.

Q5. What are comets made of? What does that have to do they have to do with the formation of the solar system? What is the Kuiper Belt? What is the Oort Cloud? Where are they located? 5 points.

Q6. Describe (and illustrate if it helps) how comets got to the Kuiper Belt and how they got to the Oort cloud. 5 points.

Q7. Exceptions to rules are listed below. Describe why each is an exception, and how such an exception could come about. 1 point each.

A. Rotation of Venus
B. Density of Earth
C. Size and density of the Moon
D. Lack of nitrogen on Mars
E. The existence of the asteroid belt
F. The four large Galilean Satellites
G. The beautiful rings of Saturn
H. Tilt of Uranus
I. The patchwork surface of Miranda
J. Orbit of Triton
K. Pluto and Charon