Time for the answers – how many do you think you got right?
Suitable for under 10s
1. How many individual stars can you see with the naked eye?
On a clear, moonless night at a dark location free from light pollution, you can see about ,3000 individual stars with the naked eye.
2. What is a pattern of stars identifiable in the night sky called? Bonus point if you can guess how many named patterns there are altogether.
Clue: C_n_ _ _l_at_ _ _
Constellations can represent an animal, person, mythical creature or object – for example, Orion. There are in fact 88 named constellations.
3. What does the constellation of Orion show? Answer: A hunter in Greek mythology. What is Orion famous for? Answer: His belt.
4. What is the speed of light?
a. 900 kilometres per hour
b. 300,000 kilometres per second
c. 3,000 kilometres per second
d. 9,000 miles per hour
Answer: 300,000 kilometres per second.
To be technically correct, this is the speed of light in a vacuum, since light travelling through glass or water, for example, travels more slowly.
5. What does UFO stand for?
Answer: Unidentified Flying Object
6. Where do stars go in the day?
Answer: They are still in the sky, but sunlight makes the sky too bright for us to see them.
7. Which is the hottest planet?
8. An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the _ _ _ _ passes in front of the _ _ _.
Answer: An eclipse of the sun occurs when the Moon passes in front of the Sun.
9. Which planet has thousands of rings?
10. What did Wallace from Wallace and Gromit say the moon was made of in A Grand Day Out – Landing on the Moon?
Answer: Wensleydale cheese
Suitable for over 10s
1. What hit the earth 65 million years ago, causing the dinosaurs to die out?
Answer: a meteorite
A meteorite impact happens when rocks from space crash into Earth’s surface. The rocks can vary greatly in size. Most meteorites that strike Earth are the size of pebbles, but the largest ones can be bigger than the size of a house and cause massive destruction.
A meteorite impact can leave behind a crater, a large hollow area in the ground, that can still be seen thousands,or sometimes millions of years later. Did you know a massive meteorite hit the Earth 65 million years ago, causing the dinosaurs to die out!
When meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere (or that of another planet, like Mars) at high speed and burn up, the fireballs or ‘shooting stars’ are called meteors. When a meteoroid survives a trip through the atmosphere and hits the ground, it’s called a meteorite.
2. What do some people, in cultures all across the globe, claim to see in the Full Moon?
Answer: Man in the Moon.
The dark areas of the Moon (mares or ‘seas’) seem to make the pattern of a human face or figure known as the Man in the Moon. Some people see eyes and a mouth, others a full human form carrying a back pack or being accompanied by a dog.
3. What is thought to be the start of the Universe? Have a guess at when you think the universe began!
Answer: The Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago.
Astronomers believe that around 13.8 billion years ago, the Universe was born in a gigantic explosion known as the Big Bang. This produced four things: matter, energy, space, and time.
4. What is the name of the night sky phenomenon, shown below, which is caused by the collision of charged particles with the upper atmosphere?
The Aurora generally occurs in the high latitudes but occasionally spreading into lower latitudes. The Aurora can often be seen in places such as Iceland and Norway, but sometimes even in Scotland and the North of England.
5. What is a supernova?
Answer: A supernova is a powerful and luminous stellar explosion.
6. Astronomers generally agree that the universe will…
a. Never stop expanding
b. Keep expanding for 1 billion years then start to decline
c. Stop expanding in 50 billion years and then explode
d. Come to an end this year
Answer: Never stop expanding
Astronomers used to think that the expanding universe would eventually be slowed down by the gravity of all the stars and galaxies in it. In fact, for a while, we believed that the universe might even collapse under its own weight in a ‘Big Crunch’. In 1998, however, astronomers discovered that the universe’s expansion is getting faster, leading us to believe that it will go on expanding for ever.
7. Which galaxy is home to our solar system? It’s the hazy band of light that arcs across the clear night sky.
Answer: The Milky Way
From our position on the edge of the galaxy, we see the light from the other stars as a hazy band of light.
8. Which object lost its status as a planet in 2006?
Answer: Pluto was considered a dwarf planet from August 2006 onwards.
9. How many moons does Mars have?
Answer: Two – deimos and phobos
10. Which planet has the largest moon in the solar system?
Answer: Jupiter (Ganymede)
11. How many moons does Jupiter have?
53 are named and 26 are awaiting names.
12. How many planets are there in the solar system? Bonus point if you can you order the planets going outwards from the Sun.
Answer: Eight. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.
So how did you get on? Did you learn something new? If you enjoyed this quiz and it has captured your interest in the dark sky and you want to learn more, we have a stellar line up of many free events and activities for young families and children to get involved in as part of our 2021 Dark Skies Festival.