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Astronomy 2e

Thought Questions

Astronomy 2eThought Questions

Thought Questions


Table 15.1 indicates that the density of the Sun is 1.41 g/cm3. Since other materials, such as ice, have similar densities, how do you know that the Sun is not made of ice?


Starting from the core of the Sun and going outward, the temperature decreases. Yet, above the photosphere, the temperature increases. How can this be?


Since the rotation period of the Sun can be determined by observing the apparent motions of sunspots, a correction must be made for the orbital motion of Earth. Explain what the correction is and how it arises. Making some sketches may help answer this question.


Suppose an (extremely hypothetical) elongated sunspot forms that extends from a latitude of 30° to a latitude of 40° along a fixed line of longitude on the Sun. How will the appearance of that sunspot change as the Sun rotates? (Figure 15.17 should help you figure this out.)


The text explains that plages are found near sunspots, but Figure 15.18 shows that they appear even in areas without sunspots. What might be the explanation for this?


Why would a flare be observed in visible light, when they are so much brighter in X-ray and ultraviolet light?


How can the prominences, which are so big and ‘float’ in the corona, stay gravitationally attached to the Sun while flares can escape?


If you were concerned about space weather and wanted to avoid it, where would be the safest place on Earth for you to live?


Suppose you live in northern Canada and an extremely strong flare is reported on the Sun. What precautions might you take? What might be a positive result?

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