Regents Prep: Earth Science
Multiple-Choice Questions
Regents Prep Earth Science: Topical Multiple-Choice Question Archive
Use of Topical Archive Multiple-Choice Questions
Teachers:

Feel free to copy and paste any of the multiple-choice questions below for use in creating your own Regents-style assessments.

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Astronomy: Question 1 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The length of an Earth day is determined by the time required for approximately one
  1. Earth rotation
  2. Earth revolution
  3. Sun rotation
  4. Sun revolution

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: One Earth day is 24 hours. It is also known that the Earth takes 24 hours to make one complete ROTATION. Another fact that supports the answer is that the Earth’s rotation rate is 15°/hour.


Astronomy: Question 2 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

To an observer in Buffalo, New York, the North Star, Polaris, is always located above the northern horizon at an altitude of approximately
  1. 23˝°
  2. 43°
  3. 66˝°
  4. 90°

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: The North Star (Polaris) is always equal to the observer's latitude. This is due to Polaris' position in space which is over the Northern tilt of axis in relation to the Earth. To find Buffalo's latitude go to

page 3 of the Earth Science Reference Tables.">More Information


Astronomy: Question 3 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which planet is approximately thirty times farther from the Sun than Earth is?
  1. Jupiter
  2. Saturn
  3. Uranus
  4. Neptune

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: To find which planet is 30x farther from the Sun than the Earth you need to go to p. 15 in the ESRT (Solar System Data). Find the Earth distance from the Sun (149.6 million km) and multiply by 30 which equals 4,488 million km. Closest planet to this number is Neptune.

Earth Science Reference Tables p.15">More Information


Astronomy: Question 4 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which object is located at one foci of the elliptical orbit of Mars?
  1. the Sun
  2. Betelgeuse
  3. Earth
  4. Jupiter

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: To form an ellipse there needs to be 2 foci (plural of focus). The further away the foci are the more elliptical the shape will be, conversely if there is 1 focus the shape will be a circle. As far as the question is concerned, any planet in the solar system revolves around the Sun, thus the Sun is one focus and the other is an imaginary point equidistant from the opposite focus.


Astronomy: Question 5 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

What is the basic difference between ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation?
  1. half-life
  2. temperature
  3. wavelength
  4. wave velocity

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: The Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) chart is based on the differences in wavelength (how strong or weak the wave is). The smaller the wavelength the stronger the energy is... Gamma waves are the strongest and Radio waves are the weakest.

Earth Science Reference Tables on p.14">More Information


Astronomy: Question 6 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The apparent daily path of the Sun changes with the seasons because
  1. Earth's axis is tilted
  2. Earth's distance from the Sun changes
  3. the Sun revolves
  4. the Sun rotates

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: Due to the Earth's tilt, your latitude will be a determining factor when it comes to sun angle. For example, Syracuse has a latitude of 43oN thus the apparent sun angle will change between a low point of 23o and a high point of 70o. The further north an observer is located the lower the sun angle (cooler) vs. the closer to the equator the higher the sun angle (warmer).


Astronomy: Question 7 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

This object orbits Earth in both the Earth-centered (geocentric) and Sun-centered (heliocentric) models of our solar system?
  1. the Moon
  2. Venus
  3. the Sun
  4. Polaris

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: The Moon (revolves) is a satellite of the Earth and the Earth and Moon (revolve) are satellites of the Sun. Since the Moon revolves around the Earth it is termed geocentric and heliocentric comes from the Earth and Moon revolving around the Sun.


Astronomy: Question 8 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Predictable changes in the direction of swing of a Foucault pendulum provide evidence that
  1. Earth is tilted on its axis
  2. Earth rotates on its axis
  3. Earth’s orbit is slightly elliptical
  4. Earth’s magnetic poles reverse over time

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: Foucault Pendulum is similar to the arm on a grandfather clock. It is made from a steel wire with a heavy ball attached to the end. These two materials are suspended so they are able to swing, then around this a circular pattern of 24 pegs (1 for each hour) is placed in an upright position. The pendulum starts to swing and knocks the pegs over 1 per hour. This pattern will show that the earth makes 1 complete rotation in 24 hours.


Astronomy: Question 9 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The diagram below illustrates three stages of a current theory of the formation of the univerese.

A major piece of scientific evidence supporting this theory is the fact that wavelengths of light from galaxies moving away from Earth in stage 3 are observed to be
 

  1. shorter than normal (a red shift)
  2. shorter than normal (a blue shift)
  3. longer than normal (a red shift)
  4. longer than normal (a blue shift)

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: The Earth is said to be in an expanding universe. This is measured by the light of other galaxies toward the Milky Way (where the solar system is located). The light is measured in wavelengths that are long similar to the wavelength of red light. Red light will produce long wavelengths (moving away, red shift) and blue light will produce short wavelengths (getting closer, blue shift).


Astronomy: Question 10 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The diagram below shows the Moon orbiting Earth as viewed from space above the North Pole. The Moon is shown at eight different positions in its orbit.

At which two positions of the Moon is an eclipse of the Sun or Moon possible?
 

  1. 1 and 5
  2. 2 and 6
  3. 3 and 7
  4. 4 and 8

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: An eclipse is a blocking of light. The Earth and the Moon receive their light from the sun. In order for an eclipse to occur the Earth or Moon must block the light from the sun. In position 1 there could be a solar eclipse (when the moon blocks the light of the sun). In position 5 there could be a lunar eclipse (when the Earth blocks the light from the sun). The reason this doesn't occur every month is due to the moon's revolution being tilted as it travels around the earth. This will not produce an eclipse each month until alignment of the bodies occurs. What normally occur are the new and full moon phases.


Astronomy: Question 11 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Summer days in New York State are likely to be hotter than winter days because in summer
  1. Earth is closer to the Sun
  2. the number of sunspots increases
  3. Earth’s northern axis is tilted toward the Sun
  4. the Sun gives off more energy

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: In the summer in NYS the sun's rays hit the northern hemisphere at a higher angle which means the rays are more intense, this is due to the tilt of the earth. The earth is tilted 23.5 degrees and as it revolves around the sun different points of the earth receive different intensities of sunlight. In the northern hemisphere where NYS is located the sun's rays are highest in the sky on June 21 (first day of summer). This will change and on December 21 (first day of winter) the sun's rays will be at the lowest point. Bottom line is that the earth's tilt along with revolution cause the seasons.


Astronomy: Question 12 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which planet takes more time to complete one rotation on its axis than to complete one revolution around the Sun?
  1. Mercury
  2. Venus
  3. Mars
  4. Jupiter

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: Go to p.15 of the reference tables (Solar System Data chart). Look to the Period of Revolution (time to go around the sun) and Period of Rotation (time to make one spin/day) columns. Find the PLANET that takes more time to make one rotation compared to one revolution. The answer is Venus.

page 15">More Information


Astronomy: Question 13 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which observation provides the best evidence that Earth rotates?
  1. The position of the planets among the stars changes during the year.
  2. The location of the constellations in relationship to Polaris changes from month to month.
  3. The length of the shadow cast by a flagpole at noontime changes from season to season.
  4. The direction of swing of a freely swinging pendulum changes during the day.

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: Rotation means to spin on an axis. For Earth, rotation causes night and day (24 hour period). The Foucault pendulum as stated in choice #4 is a good indicator that the earth rotates even though one cannot feel it. The pendulum looks similar to the arm of a grandfather clock and swings freely in a circular pattern. As the arm swings it will knock over pegs that are place in 15-degree increments around the perimeter of the circle. The pegs are knocked over, every hour for 24 hours. This leads to the notion that if 24 pegs, which are 15 degrees apart, are knocked over the earth makes one rotation in that amount of time (24 x 15 = 360).


Astronomy: Question 14 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

At which location will the highest altitude of the star Polaris be observed?
  1. Equator
  2. Tropic of Cancer
  3. Arctic Circle
  4. central New York State

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: Polaris (North Star) is located over the northern axis of the Earth. Because of this Polaris will appear to move with the observer in the Northern hemisphere. The question states which location has the highest altitude of Polaris. To correctly answer the question choose the location with the highest northern latitude. If one is unsure of the locations listed in the question refer to p.4 of the reference tables. The highest northern latitude is the Arctic Circle.

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Astronomy: Question 15 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which star is cooler and many times brighter than Earth’s Sun?
  1. Barnard’s Star
  2. Betelgeuse
  3. Rigel
  4. Sirius

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: To find the correct answer go to the top of p.15 (Luminosity and Temp. of Stars) in the reference tables. Locate the Sun (a main sequence star). Now compare the Sun with the choices in the question. The only star that is cooler in temperature but brighter in luminosity is Betelgeuse ( a Supergiant).

page 15">More Information


Astronomy: Question 16 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Energy is transferred from the Sun to Earth mainly by
  1. molecular collisions
  2. density currents
  3. electromagnetic waves
  4. red shifts

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: The Earth receives the Sun's energy in the form of electromagnetic energy called Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). UV rays can be found in the Electromagnetic Spectrum chart on p.14 of the reference tables, these rays are stronger than visible light rays and can be harmful to humans.

page 14">More Information


Astronomy: Question 17 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which planet has an orbit with an eccentricity most similar to the eccentricity of the Moon’s orbit around Earth?
  1. Earth
  2. Jupiter
  3. Pluto
  4. Saturn

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: Any data that needs to be found on the Solar System can be found on the bottom of p.15 in the reference tables. The question is looking for the planetary eccentricity (shape of orbit) that would be closest to the orbit of the Earth's moon. Locate the Eccentricity of Orbit column in the chart and find the eccentricity of the Earth’s Moon (0.055). Then correlate (match) that number to the eccentricities of the Planets. The number closest to 0.055 is Saturn's eccentricity (0.056).

page 15">More Information


Astronomy: Question 18 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Base your answer to this question on the graph below, which shows the maximum altitude of the Moon, measured by an observer located at a latitude of 43° N during June in a particular year. The names and appearance of the four major Moon phases are shown at the top of the graph, directly above the date on which the phase occurred.

What was the maximum altitude of the Moon on June 22?
 

  1. 40°
  2. 43°
  3. 46°
  4. 50°

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: Locate June 22 on the x-axis. Then follow the graph line up until it intersects with the graphing line. Finally, at the intersection point go to the left and locate the Moon's Maximum Altitude Above the Horizon. Since the interval on the y-axis is 2 degrees the best choice is 46 degrees.


Astronomy: Question 19 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Base your answer to this question on the graph below, which shows the maximum altitude of the Moon, measured by an observer located at a latitude of 43° N during June in a particular year. The names and appearance of the four major Moon phases are shown at the top of the graph, directly above the date on which the phase occurred.

Which diagram best represents the Moon’s phase observed on June 11?
 

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: Locate June 11 on the x-axis and follow the graph line all the way up to the moon phases. The line is in between the 1st quarter moon and a full moon. The phase between the two is called a waxing gibbous which is ALMOST fully lit.


Astronomy: Question 20 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Base your answers to this question on the diagram below, which shows the tilt of Earth on its axis in relation to the Sun on one particular day. Points A through E are locations on Earth’s surface. Point D is located in New York State. The dashed line represents Earth’s axis.

Which diagram best represents the angle of the Sun’s rays received at location C at noon on this day?
 

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: The Earth's position indicated in the picture would be the 1st day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere or 1st day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere (December 21st). Since location C is on the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5S) it would signify a direct ray at this point. The Sun's direct rays (90o) fluctuate throughout the year between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5N) to the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5S) and back. Since the southern face of the Earth is toward the Sun, location C would experience direct rays at noon on this day.


Astronomy: Question 21 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Base your answers to this question on the diagram below, which shows the tilt of Earth on its axis in relation to the Sun on one particular day. Points A through E are locations on Earth’s surface. Point D is located in New York State. The dashed line represents Earth’s axis.

What is the latitude of location A?
 

  1. 23˝° N
  2. 63˝° N
  3. 90° N

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: Location A is the North Pole which has a latitude of 90°N.


Astronomy: Question 22 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Base your answers to this question on the diagram below, which shows the tilt of Earth on its axis in relation to the Sun on one particular day. Points A through E are locations on Earth’s surface. Point D is located in New York State. The dashed line represents Earth’s axis.

On this day, which location has the greatest number of hours of daylight?
 

  1. E
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: The position of the Earth indicates a date of December 21st. This means that location E (South Pole) would experience 24 hours of light on this day. The reason for 24 hours of light is due to the sun never setting because of a very low sun angle.


Astronomy: Question 23 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The apparent rising and setting of the Sun, as viewed from Earth, is caused by
  1. Earth’s rotation
  2. Earth’s revolution
  3. the Sun’s rotation
  4. the Sun’s revolution

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: The Sun’s APPARENT path through the sky is caused by the earth rotating (spinning) on its axis. The term APPARENT meaning looks like but not truly occurring.


Astronomy: Question 24 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

In which direction on the horizon does the Sun appear to rise on July 4 in New York State?
  1. due north
  2. due south
  3. north of due east
  4. south of due east

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: June 21st marks the first day of the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Since July 4th is within the summer solstice time frame, the Sun will rise in the NE and set in the NW. The APPARENT path of the sun in the sky at that time supports the longer days and shorter nights of the year in NYS. Other important info... Earth's tilt (23.5o) will give us our seasons. Sunrise/Sunset: 12/21--SE/SW 3/21--E/W 9/21--E/W


Astronomy: Question 25 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which graph best represents the change in gravitational attraction between the Sun and a comet as the distance between them increases?

Correct Answer Number: 1

Explanation: According to Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation, as the distance from the gravitational source (Sun) increase the gravitational attraction decreases. This effect is an INDIRECT relationship. The graph that supports this is the first one, as the distance from the sun becomes larger the attraction to the comet becomes less.


Astronomy: Question 26 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

The best evidence that Earth spins on its axis is provided by
  1. variations in atmospheric density
  2. apparent shifts in the swing of a Foucault pendulum
  3. changes in the position of sunspots on the Sun
  4. eclipses of the Moon

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: The best piece of evidence that supports the Earth's spinning on its axis is the FOUCAULT PENDULUM. Jean Foucault devised a way to show the earth is rotating even though we cannot feel it. Usually Foucault pendulum's are set up with 24 pegs 15 degrees apart in a circle. A ball attached to a metal wire is placed in the center of that circle and swings back and forth throughout the day/night. By the end of the rotation period all 24 pegs are knocked down proving that the earth has spun once on it's axis.


Astronomy: Question 27 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

A major belt of asteroids is located between Mars and Jupiter. What is the approximate average distance between the Sun and this major asteroid belt?
  1. 110 million kilometers
  2. 220 million kilometers
  3. 390 million kilometers
  4. 850 million kilometers

Correct Answer Number: 3

Explanation: According to the ESRT p.15 page 15 you should find the proper data to answer the question. One should find the distance from the Sun to Mars= 227.9 million km and from Jupiter 778.3 million km.

page 15">More Information


Astronomy: Question 28 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

A cycle of Moon phases can be seen from Earth because the
  1. Moon’s distance from Earth changes at a predictable rate
  2. Moon’s axis is tilted
  3. Moon spins on its axis
  4. Moon revolves around Earth

Correct Answer Number: 4

Explanation: The moon phases are caused by the revolution of the moon around the earth that takes about a month. Also, the angle the moon is in respect to the earth causes the moon to APPEAR to have different areas lit.


Astronomy: Question 29 of 29
This question may require the use of the Earth Science Reference Tables.

Which diagram represents the approximate altitude of Polaris as seen by an observer located in Syracuse, New York?

Correct Answer Number: 2

Explanation: POLARIS EQUALS THE OBSERVERS LATITUDE. According to the ESRT p.3, Syracuse, NY has a latitude of 43N.

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