Asteroids, Meteors, Comets - Quiz 10

1. The tail of a comet
A).. is gas and dust pulled off the comet by the Sun's gravity.
B)..always points away from the Sun.
C).. trails behind the comet, pointing away from the Sun as the comet approaches it, and toward the Sun as the comet moves out of the inner Solar System.
D) gas and dust expelled from the comet's nucleus and blown outward by radiation pressure and the solar wind.
E).. both (b) and (d).

2. .The bright streak of light we see when a meteoroid enters our atmosphere is caused by
A)...sunlight reflected from the solid body of the meteoroid.
B)... radioactive decay of material in the meteoroid.
C)... a process similar to the aurora that is triggered by the meteoroid's disturbing the Earth's magnetic field.
D)... frictional heating as the meteoroid speeds through the gases of our atmosphere.
E)... the meteoroid's disturbing the atmosphere so that sunlight is refracted in unusual directions.

3. Meteor showers such as the Perseids in August are caused by
A)... the breakup of asteroids that hit our atmosphere at predictable times.
B)... the Earth passing through the debris left behind by a comet as it moves through the inner Solar System.
C)... passing asteroids triggering auroral displays.
D)... nuclear reactions in the upper atmosphere triggered by an abnormally large meteoritic particle entering the upper atmosphere.
E)... None of the above.

4. Astronomers think that most comets come from
A)... interstellar space.
B)...material ejected by volcanic eruptions on the moons of the outer planets.
C)... condensation of gas in the Sun's hot outer atmosphere.
D)... small icy bodies in the extreme outer parts of the Solar System that are disturbed into orbits that bring them closer to the Sun.
E)... luminous clouds in the Earth's upper atmosphere created when a small asteroid is captured by the Earth's gravitational force.

5. The main asteroid belt lies between the orbits of
A)... Earth and Mars.
B)... Saturn and Jupiter.
C)... Venus and Earth.
D)... Mars and Jupiter.
E)...Pluto and the Oort cloud..

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