Astronomy current events question: data mining for trans-Neptunian objects

Astronomy 210L, Fall Semester 2010
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Students are assigned to read online articles on current astronomy events, and take a short current events quiz during the first 10 minutes of lab. (This motivates students to show up promptly to lab, as the time cut-off for the quiz is strictly enforced!)
Astronomy.com editors, "Hubble Data Harvests Distant Solar System Objects," September 14, 2010
14 new trans-Neptunian objects (similar to Pluto) were discovered by searching archived data from the NASA Hubble Space Telescope for:
(A) pixels tagged as data errors.
(B) dim infrared spots.
(C) previously uncategorized stars.
(D) changes in Neptune's orbit around the sun.
(E) streaks of light in time-exposure photographs.

Correct answer: (E)

Student responses
Sections 70178, 70186, 70200
(A) : 4 students
(B) : 9 students
(C) : 6 students
(D) : 3 students
(E) : 36 students

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