Galaxies, Stars, Exoplanets and Ex-planets

How much do you know about astronomy?

Please prepare for today’s Astronomy Challenge.

M 106 is the featured cover image the April 2019 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. This issue is the topic of our Challenge today.

If you know your astronomy stuff you might be able to answer most of these questions without reading the magazine. But of course, reading it will probably help.

You have up to fifteen minutes to complete the challenge today.

Begin now. Do your best.

  1. Editor in Chief Peter Tyson tells us in his column (p. 4) that this April issue will focus on what part of the sky with articles about Centaurus and Crux, Alpha Centauri and the total lunar eclipse last July?

Setting Moon in South Africa

  1. (p. 9) Mission scientists announced December 10, 2018 that what spacecraft has become the second probe to enter interstellar space?

  1. In his article about galaxies (p. 15-21) Ken Croswell tells us about the thing spiral galaxies need to preserve their shape and beauty. What is this all-essential thing?.

  1. (p. 16) In units of solar mass, how much of the gas in the Milky Way Galaxy is being converted into stars each year?

  1. (p. 17) Our galaxy and other spirals can get more gas added from three sources. Name or describe one of these sources.

  1. In “Constellation Close-Up” (p. 25) Tony Flanders writes that both Centaurus A’s AGN and it’s band of dust encircling that galaxy could have been caused by what?


  1. M74, M77, and M32 are the most difficult objects to capture in Alan Whitman’s Canadian Messier marathon described in the article “A Northern Run.” (p. 28-33) What kind of celestial object are all three?

  1. (p. 34-40) Javier Barbuzano reminds us in the article “Alpha Centauri Fever” that Thomas Henderson used parallax to reveal what about this third brightest star in the night sky?

  1. (p. 39) “Project Blue” is a plan to take images of possible planets in the habitable zones of Alpha Centauri. From where did this project get it’s name?

  1. In “Binocular Highlight” (p. 43) Matthew Wedel lists four stellar clusters: 1. Coma star cluster, 2. Pleiades, 3. Hyades and 4. Alpha Perseii. Which one is closest to Earth?

  1. What orange, first magnitude star appears to be associated with the Hyades cluster but is actually half as distant as the cluster. (p. 45)

  1. Name the asteroid that will be at opposition on April 6.

GUEST QUESTION from @richarddennison “Who discovered Pluto?”

  1. In Sue French’s column “Small-scope Galaxies” M81 and M82 are called “cosmic dust-bunnies.” In what constellation can these galaxies be found?

OK, pencils down. Scroll down for directions for checking your answers.

Please read directions below:

Step 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.

  • Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Researchfullsizeoutput_13f0

Click on “Get Involved”

  • Guilford County Animal Shelter

               Look under “Donate to the Animal Shelter.”

  • Guilford Senior Resources

Look under “You Can Help”

  • Jo Cline Memorial Endowment

Step 2: Check your written answers to the answers below. If your answer is correct, give it a check mark.

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

Step 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

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

On Monday, April 1, 2019, our Astronomy Challenge was about the April issue of Sky & Telescope.

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

Correct Answers……..Periscope Winners:

  1. The southern hemisphere, the Austral sky….@speear40: On June 9, 2004 we saw the four brightest stars in the night sky all at the same time. From South Africa, Arcturus was high on the north. Sirius was low in the west, Canopus was a bit higher in the southwest, and Rigel Kent was high on the southern sky.

  1. Voyager 2…..@Suyog_92: The solar wind sharply declined at the time the quantity of cosmic particles increased

  1. Gas……..@Suyog_92: Gas is exhausted by the creation of new stars. Gas is also needed to dissipate the disturbances caused by supernova explosions.

  1. 2 solar masses per year……. @Defender_of_India: About 2 solar masses worth of gas is going mostly into red dwarfs each year So we only have enough gas for the next one billion tears.

  1. Three answers: Pristine gas from the cosmic web, from the halo of our galaxy,…..@richarddennison     B.   From smaller galaxies that get too close…..@speear40 and C. from our own stars that shed material when they die….@Pircano

  1. A collision with another galaxy….…@Mellissa_Narcissa

  1. Galaxies……… @MasterCP

  1. Distance……….@rossm3838:   That Alpha Centuari is the closest to our solar system, only 4.3 light-years away.

  1. Carl Sagan……..@Pircano: Carl Sagan’s description of Earth as a “pale blue dot.”



  1. Hyades…….. @Pircano: Hyades at 150 light years

  1. Aldebaran………@speear40

  1. Pallas…………@Defender_of_India:      Pallas, the second asteroid, discovered by Heinrich Olbers in 1802 and counted as a planet until 1845.

GUEST QUESTION: Clyde Tombaugh……….@rossm3838

  1. Ursae Major……….@Defender_of_India

Thanks goes out to all participants,


Congratulations to everyone who got one right.

If you find a mistake in my post, please let me know.

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