No, not George Clooney

Stars in History

Today we have thirteen questions, and we will take fifteen minutes to complete the quiz.

Please get out a clean sheet of paper and a No. 2 pencil and prepare for today’s Astronomy Challenge

If you find a mistake, please let me know. Do your best.

The topic today: Stars in history

You have fifteen minutes to complete the quiz. Begin now.

Stars in History

  1. Old Egyptians considered what star the pole star?

  1. How many constellations were handed down to us by Eudoxus (403 – 350 B.B.E.) and Ptolemy?

  1. In which Gospel will you find the Star of Bethlehem mentioned?

  1. What star in Ursa Minor served as a signpost that allowed ancient travelers to find their way at night?

  1. The Anasazi people of the American southwest left records that seem to depict what famous astronomical event of A.D. 1054?

  1. What kind of star did Tycho Brahe “discover” 1572?

  1. In 1718 Edmund Halley discovered the proper motion of stars using two bright stars. Name one.

  1. What star was the first to have its distance measured by parallax?

  1. Henrietta Leavitt’s “Period Luminosity Law” describes the img_2029connection between absolute magnitude and period of what kind of variable stars?

  1. In 1922 Harlow Shapley used Cepheid variable in what specific kind of group of old stars in the Milky Way Galaxy’s halo to determine the size of our galaxy?

  1. Who used Cepheid variables in 1924 to determine that the Milky Way Galaxy is just one of many “island universes”?

  1. In 1967 Jocelyn Bell discovered what kind of star rotating on its axis

    From left: John Sinclair, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Dennis Hands and Don Cline

    once every 1.1337011 seconds?

  1. Discovered in 1964, Cygnus X-1 is one of the most powerful X-ray sources in our sky. What kind of stellar remnant appears to be the cause?

OK, pencils down. Let’s trade with a neighbor and check one another.

Please read directions below:

  1. Please contribute to one of these charities linked below. If you are a winner and contribute, please ask recipient to notify me of the amount so I might match the first $100.

    1. Michael J. fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Click on “Get Involved”

  1. Guilford County Animal Shelter

               Look under “Donate to the Animal Shelter.”

  1. Guilford Senior Resources

Look under “You Can Help”

  1. Jo Cline Memorial Endowment

  1. Check your written answers to the answers below.

  2. If your answer is correct, give it a check mark.

  3. If your answer is wrong, put a small X.

  4. If you think my answer is questionable, write yourself a note, do the research and let me know if I’ve erred. Thanks in advance,

You are welcome to play with us during the next live broadcast of

“Let’s talk astronomy” this coming Monday beginning at 8 am eastern US time on Periscope.

Periscope is a live video streaming app for Android and iOS available in the App Store.

On Monday, December 24, 2018, our Astronomy Challenge was about Stars in History.

The questions are given above, the correct answers and the winners are given below.

Congratulations to all winners and thank-you to all participants.

Play live on Periscope’s “ Let’s talk astronomy” 8 am (Eastern US time) on Mondays.

Correct Answers……..Periscope Winners:

  1. Thuban, gamma Draconis………. @johnnyboy2222: The Earth’s wobble causes a precession of the pole star, cycling over a 25,800 year period. 4, 800 years ago, Earth’s North Celestial Pole (NCP) was near Thuban, a magnitude 3.7 star, a Type A0 giant 290 light years away.

  1. 88 constellations…………@crackback1:   The international Astronomical Union established 88 constellations in 1922. There are 48constellations from ancient Greeks, the Dutch added 12 more in the 16th century and 14 more were added in the 1750s

  1. Matthew…….. @ tiki: Why is this part of the story only in one of the gospels?

  1. Polaris……….@joelschultz:   Polaris at declination 89 degrees, 15 minutes and 50.8 seconds, A magnitude 2.0 Type F supergiant, Polaris is about 820 light years. It’s a Cepheid variable with a 4 day period. Polaris will be closest to the NCP in the year 2100 at onle a half degree,

  1. Supernova….………@Atheist: Supernovae also seen by Chinese astronomers. What happened to that SN? Check out the Crab Nebula, M1.

  1. Supernova …………..@rossm3838: At magnitude -4, this guest star was visible for 6 months. It was a Type 1 Supernova

  1. Arcturus and Sirius…………@tiki and @Dennis718:  proper motion is the motion of a star across our sky.

  1. 61 Cygni…………..NO ONE GOT THIS ANSWER: 61 Cygnus by Friedrich Bessel in 1838.. This German astronomer also determined in 1844 that Sirius has a secondary companion.

  1. Cepheid variables…………..@Camerojeff599: Leavitt worked at the Harvard College Observatory. In particular, she studied Cepheids n the Small Magallanic Cloud. (SMC)

  1. Globular Clusters…………..@Pircano: Shapely discovered that the GCs included Cepheid variable stars. Using the Period Luminosity Law (see number 9 above) , he determined that our home galaxy is larger than most thought it was. Shapley also determined that our solar system is some distance from galactic center . He hung onto the idea that the “spiral nebulae” were small and nearby, within the Milky Way Galaxy.


  1. Edwin Hubble…………..@Pircano: Using the 100 inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory

  1. Pulsars…………..@Athiest: We can “hear” pulsars at

  1. A black hole…………..@joelschultz:   This was the first real candidate for a black hole of stellar mass.   This one is between 6 and 15 solar masses, about 8,000 light years away.

Thanks goes out to all participants,


Congratulations to everyone who got one right.

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