Born between Halloween and the Solstice – Quiz

Born between Halloween and the Solstice – Quiz
Here are 30 people who made contributions to astronomy and space. Ten of them were also born between Halloween and the Winter Solstice. Can you match them to their birthdays? Try the quiz – then you can check your answers, and learn more.

Quiz: Born between Halloween and the Winter Solstice

  1. (11.08.1656) The first person to plot a comet's orbit and predict its return: (A) Isaac Newton; (B) Robert Hooke; (C) Edmond Halley

  2. On November 9th, many fans celebrate the birthday of this American astronomer, science writer and communicator: (A) Bill Nye; (B) Carl Sagan; (C) Neil deGrasse Tyson

  3. (11.11.1875) The American astronomer who was the first to discover the redshift of galaxies: (A) Vesto Slipher; (B) Edwin Hubble; (C) Clyde Tombaugh

  4. (11.15.1738) Musician, astronomer, and the first person ever to discover a new planet: (A) Johann Galle; (B) William Herschel; (C) Johannes Kepler

  5. (11.18.1923) Apollo astronaut and first American in space: (A) Alan Shepard; (B) Neil Armstrong; (C) John Glenn

  6. (11.19.1956) First woman to pilot a space shuttle and the first one to command a space shuttle: (A) Kathryn Sullivan; (B) Sally Ride; (C) Eileen Collins

  7. (12.07.1905) An astronomer often called the father of planetary science - and a region of the Solar System is named for him: (A) Jan Oort; (B) Gerard Kuiper; (C) Bart Bok

  8. (12.11.1863) American astronomer who classified nearly a quarter of a million star spectra for the Henry Draper Catalogue: (A) Williamina Fleming; (B) Maria Mitchell; (C) Annie Cannon

  9. (12.14.1546) Danish astronomer considered to be the greatest astronomical observer of the pre-telescope era: (A) Tycho Brahe; (B) Niels Bohr; (C) Ole Rømer

  10. 12.16.1917) British author whose science and science fiction inspired scientists and space explorers: (A) Fred Hoyle; (B) Isaac Asimov; (C) Arthur C. Clarke
Answers and notes

1. The first person to plot a comet's orbit and predict its return: (C) Edmond Halley
Newton, Hooke and Halley were contemporaries, and all brilliant. But Halley was the one who concluded that some supposedly new comets were one old one periodically returning. He calculated the comet's next visit. Although he didn't live to see himself proved right, posterity remembered him.

2. On November 9th, many fans celebrate the birthday of this American astronomer, science writer and communicator: (B) Carl Sagan
Bill Nye “the Science Guy”, by profession an engineer, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium, are well known to television and internet viewers. However November 9th is Carl Sagan Day.

3. The American astronomer who was the first to discover the redshift of galaxies: (A) Vesto Slipher
Slipher discovered the redshift while measuring the velocities of galaxies. Hubble built on Slipher's work and showed that more distant galaxies had a greater redshift. Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.

4. Musician, astronomer, and the first person ever to discover a new planet: (B) William Herschel
Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781. Johann Galle, using Urbain LeVerrier's calculations, discovered Neptune in 1846. Mathematician Johannes Kepler showed that planets orbited the Sun in elliptical orbits.

5. Apollo astronaut and first American in space: (A) Alan Shepard
Although John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, Alan Shepard was the first one in space. He also went to the Moon as commander of Apollo 14. Neil Armstrong was first on the Moon, and Glenn never went to the Moon.

6. First woman to pilot a space shuttle and the first one to command a space shuttle: (C) Eileen Collins
Eileen Collins, an Air Force pilot and instructor, was the first woman space shuttle pilot, then the first woman shuttle commander. Physicist Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. Geologist Kathryn Sullivan was the first American woman to make a space walk.

7. An astronomer often called the father of planetary science - and a region of the Solar System is named for him: (B) Gerard Kuiper
The Kuiper Belt, a region of icy bodies beyond Neptune, is named for Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper. Bok globules are named for Bart Bok, also Dutch-American. He first suggested that these small dark globules were sites of star formation. Dutch astronomer Jan Oort postulated the existence of a reservoir of comets surrounding the Milky Way. It's known as the Oort Cloud.

8. American astronomer who classified nearly a quarter of a million star spectra for the Henry Draper Catalogue: (C) Annie Cannon
Williamina Fleming did valuable at the Harvard College Observatory, but no one had the knack Cannon did for identifying spectra. Maria Mitchell was America's first woman professor of astronomy.

9. Danish astronomer considered to be the greatest astronomical observer of the pre-telescope era: (A) Tycho Brahe
All three men were Danes. Bohr was a physicist and one of the founders of quantum physics. Ole Rømer was the first person to measure the speed of light. Tycho's many years of observations were so accurate that Kepler was able to work out that planets orbited the Sun in elliptical, not circular, orbits.

10. British author whose science and science fiction inspired scientists and space explorers: (C) Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke wrote science fiction, but also wrote seriously about things such as satellites long before the sky was full of them. The writings of British physicist Fred Hoyle included a selection of science fiction. He made essential contributions to understanding how stars shine. Asimov, a professor of biochemistry and prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction, was American.

How did you do?
Did you get the answers right? If not, would you do better next time from what you've learned?



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