Astronomy quiz question: total solar eclipse location

Astronomy 210 Quiz 2, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

An observer in San Luis Obispo, CA is watching a total solar eclipse. During this eclipse, the observer is located in:
(A) the moon's umbra.
(B) the moon's penumbra.
(C) the moon's negative shadow.
(D) Earth's umbra.
(E) Earth's penumbra.

Correct answer (highlight to unhide): (A)

For a total solar eclipse, the new moon is between the sun and Earth, blocking light the light from the sun. All observers in the umbra (the "complete" shadow zone) of the moon would have all sunlight blocked from reaching them, and thus they would see a total solar eclipse.

(Response (B) would be for a partial solar eclipse (assuming that is the maximum extent of its progress), response (C) would be for an annular solar eclipse. Responses (D) and (E) correspond to the location of the moon during a total and partial lunar eclipse, respectively.)

Section 30676
Exam code: quiz02SnT4
(A) : 20 students
(B) : 4 students
(C) : 7 students
(D) : 9 students
(E) : 1 student
(No response : 1 student)

Success level: 52% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.57

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