Astronomy Chapter 8 Practice Questions

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Which of the following is not a general characteristic of the four jovian planets in our solar system?

They are higher in average density than are the terrestrial planets.

Which of the following best describes the internal layering of Jupiter, from the center outward?

Core of rock, metal, and hydrogen compounds; thick layer of metallic hydrogen; layer of liquid hydrogen; layer of gaseous hydrogen; cloud layer

Which of the following statements comparing the jovian interiors is not thought to be true?

They all have the same exact set of internal layers, though these layers differ in size.

Overall, Jupiter’s composition is most like that of _________.

the Sun

Jupiter’s colors come in part from its three layers of clouds. Which of the following is not the primary constituent of one of Jupiter’s cloud layers?

clouds of sulfuric acid

How do typical wind speeds in Jupiter’s atmosphere compare to typical wind speeds on Earth?

They are much faster than hurricane winds on Earth.

What is the Great Red Spot?

a long-lived, high-pressure storm on Jupiter

What atmospheric constituent is responsible for the blue color of Uranus and Neptune?


How does the strength of Jupiter’s magnetic field compare to that of Earth’s magnetic field?

Jupiter’s magnetic field is about 20,000 times as strong as Earth’s.

Which of the following statements about the moons of the jovian planets is not true?

Most of the moons are large enough to be spherical in shape, but a few have the more potato-like shapes of asteroids.

Which statement about Io is true?

It is the most volcanically active body in our solar system.

Which moon has a thick atmosphere made mostly of nitrogen?


The Huygens probe took numerous pictures as it descended to Titan’s surface in 2005. What did the pictures show?

features or erosion, including what appeared to be dry river valleys and lakebeds

Which moon is considered likely to have a deep, subsurface ocean of liquid water?


Which large jovian moon is thought to have been captured into its present orbit?


Suppose you could float in space just a few meters above Saturn’s rings. What would you see as you looked down on the rings?

countless icy particles, ranging in size from dust grains to large boulders

Which statement about planetary rings is not true?

Saturn’s rings formed along with its moons 4.6 billion years ago.

Which of the following gases is not a significant ingredient of the jovian planet atmospheres?

carbon dioxide

Jupiter and the other jovian planets are sometimes called "gas giants." In what sense is this term misleading?

They actually contain relatively little material in a gaseous state.

What would happen to Jupiter if we could somehow double its mass?

Its density would increase but its diameter would barely change.

According to our theory of solar system formation, why did Uranus and Neptune end up to be much less massive than Jupiter and Saturn?

Particles in the solar nebula were more spread out at greater distances, so that accretion took longer and there was less time to pull in gas before the solar wind cleared the nebula.

Why does Jupiter have three distinct layers of clouds?

The three layers represent clouds made of gases that condense at different temperatures.

Which of the following best why we see horizontal "stripes" in photographs of Jupiter and Saturn?

The light stripes are regions of high clouds, and the dark stripes are regions where we can see down to deeper, darker clouds.

Uranus and Neptune have methane clouds but Jupiter and Saturn do not. Which factor explains why?

Temperatures on Jupiter and Saturn are too high for methane to condense.

Which jovian planet should have the most extreme seasonal changes?


Why is the radiation so intense in the region that traces Io’s orbit around Jupiter (the Io torus)?

The region is full of gases that become ionized after they are released from volcanoes on Io.

Which of the following best explains why many jovian moons have been more geologically active than the Moon or Mercury?

Jovian moons are made mostly of ice that can melt or deform at lower temperatures than can the rock and metal that make up the Moon and Mercury.

All the following statements are true. Which one is most important in explaining the tremendous tidal heating that occurs on Io?

Io orbits Jupiter on an elliptical orbit, due to orbital resonances with other satellites.

Which of the following is not a piece of evidence supporting the idea that Europa may have a subsurface ocean?

Astronomers have detected small lakes of liquid water on Europa’s surface.

Which of the following is most unlikely to be found on Titan?

lakes of liquid water in the warmer equatorial regions

Why do astronomers believe that Triton is a captured moon?

Triton orbits Neptune in a direction opposite that of Neptune’s rotation.

Which statement about Saturn’s rings is not true?

The rings must look much the same today as they did shortly after Saturn formed.

According to current understanding, which of the following is required in order for a planet to have rings?

The planet must have many small moons that orbit relatively close to the planet in its equatorial plane.

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