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Summer Solstice to Lammas – Quiz


Summer solstice, summer sky, exploration, and anniversaries – a little quiz on some highlights of the period between the solstice and Lammas. Lammas? It's an old cross-quarter day, a day falling midway between a solstice and an equinox. Still observed in a few places around the first of August, it celebrates the grain harvest.

Quiz: Summer Solstice to Lammas
  1. In some northern hemisphere countries, the June solstice merges with a saint's day celebrated on June 24th. The saint is: (A) St John the Baptist; (B) St Stephen; (C) St Brigid.

  2. The Summer Triangle is made up of the stars: (A) Arcturus, Spica, Regulus; (B) Vega, Deneb, Altair; (C) Sirius, Betelgeuse, Procyon.

  3. The USA celebrates July 4th with fireworks – this explosive cosmic event happened on a July 4th: (A) A supernova exploded in the Crab Nebula in 1054; (B) Comet Shoemaker-Levy broke up and crashed into Jupiter in 1994; (C) An asteroid exploded over Siberia in 1908.

  4. This astronomer, born June 26, 1730, loved comet-hunting: (A) Charles Messier; (B) Edmond Halley; (C) Caroline Herschel.

  5. A 100-inch mirror arrived at its California destination on July 1, 1917 – it was for: (A) Lick Observatory's Great Refractor; (B) Palomar Observatory's Hale telescope; (C) Mt. Wilson Observatory's Hooker telescope.

  6. A bright blue-white star shining overhead throughout the northern hemisphere summer: (A) Sirius; (B) Vega; (C) Arcturus.

  7. Launched on July 10, 1962, it led the way to big changes in our world view: (A) Apollo 11; (B) Telstar 1; (C) Sputnik 1.

  8. A major event in space exploration took place on July 14, 2015 – it was: (A) the New Horizons flyby of Pluto; (B) Voyager 1 entering interstellar space; (C) Lunar Prospector's discovery of water on the Moon.

  9. Antares is visible year-round in the southern hemisphere, but in the northern hemisphere is best seen in summer. It's the brightest star in the constellation: (C) Scorpius; (B) Sagittarius; (A) Serpens.

  10. One member of the Apollo 11 crew stayed in orbit on July 20, 1969 when the Eagle landed on the Moon. It was: (A) Jim Lovell; (B) Michael Collins; (C) John Glenn.
Answers and notes

1. In some northern hemisphere countries, the June solstice merges with a saint's day celebrated on June 24th. The saint is: (A) St John the Baptist.
The feast of St Stephen is the day after Christmas. Saint Brigid's day is celebrated in Ireland on February 1st.

2. The Summer Triangle is made up of the stars: (B) Vega, Deneb, Altair.
Arcturus, Spica and Regulus form the Spring Triangle. Sirius, Betelgeuse and Procyon make the Winter Triangle.

3. The USA celebrates July 4th with fireworks – this explosive cosmic event happened on a July 4th: (A) A supernova exploded in the Crab Nebula in 1054.
The other events also occurred in the northern summer. For a week, starting in mid-July, pieces of Shoemaker-Levy crashed into Jupiter. The Tunguska event of June 30, 1908 flattened about 2000 square kilometers of Siberian forest.

4. This astronomer, born June 26, 1730, loved comet-hunting: (A) Charles Messier.
"Halley's comet" was named for Edmond Halley (born in 1656) after he successfully predicted its return date. Caroline Herschel (born in 1750) discovered eight comets and was the first woman to be credited with a comet discovery.

5. A 100-inch mirror arrived at its California destination on July 1, 1917 – it was for: (C) Mt. Wilson Observatory's Hooker telescope.
Palomar's Hale telescope had a 200-inch mirror. As a refracting telescope, the Lick telescope has lenses, not a mirror.

6. A bright blue-white star shining overhead throughout the northern hemisphere summer: (B) Vega.
Sirius is known for seeming to change color, and it's highest in the northern night sky in winter. Arcturus, most prominent in spring, has a yellowish tinge to it.

7. Launched on July 10, 1962, it led the way to big changes in our world view: (B) Telstar 1.
Telstar was the first satellite to transmit television pictures across the Atlantic. It's hard to imagine now that big events around the world used to be filmed, then flown home for broadcasting. Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was a clear Soviet victory in the Cold War space race. But the first Moon landing was an even greater triumph for the USA. The world was fascinated, and it's so well-documented that it's amazing that anyone can now insist it didn't happen.

8. A major event in space exploration took place on July 14, 2015 – it was: (A) the New Horizons flyby of Pluto.
NASA announced in 2013 that Voyager 1 was in interstellar space. Lunar Prospector had detected water ice on the Moon in 1999, and other missions found further evidence in the following decade.

9. Antares is visible year-round in the southern hemisphere, but in the northern hemisphere is best seen in summer. It's the brightest star in the constellation: (C) Scorpius.
Antares is a noticeably red color and known as the heart of the scorpion.

10. One member of the Apollo 11 crew stayed in orbit on July 20, 1969 when the Eagle landed on the Moon. It was: (B) Michael Collins.
Jim Lovell circled the Moon in Apollo 8, one of the first humans to see the far side of the Moon with his own eyes. He was also in the unfortunate Apollo 13 crew which didn't land on the Moon, but did get home safely. John Glenn, born on July 18, 1921, was the first American to orbit the Earth. He was also the oldest person to go into space when he flew on a Space Shuttle mission in 1998.

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Summer Solstice - St John's Day
Halley's Comet
Telstar - Herald of the Modern Age
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Content copyright © 2015 by Mona Evans. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Mona Evans. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Mona Evans for details.

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