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Skywatch

Wed May 18, 2016 ASTRO QUIZ 1

Here’s a small astronomy quiz for you all to puzzle over: What’s the closest planet to the sun? The old constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is overhead in our sky this evening, but in America, we see another pattern among its stars – what is it? Which is bigger – a galaxy or a solar system? What did Clyde Tombaugh discover? Here are the answers. The planet Mercury is closest to our sun, at a mere 36 million miles; and last week we got to see it pass directly between us and the sun. Seven stars form the back and the tail of the Great Bear, but we know them better as the Big Dipper, upside down in our northern sky tonight. Solar systems are typically billions of miles in diameter, but galaxies are hundreds of trillions of miles across – much bigger, and what’s more, galaxies contain hundreds of billions of solar systems. Lastly, Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto, back in 1930 when he was just 24 years old.