20120518

Astronomy quiz question: IAU classification scheme

Astronomy 210 Quiz 7, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Refer below to the minimal qualifications established by the International Astronomical Union for a planet:
I. Orbits the sun.
II. Shape "rounded-out" by gravity.
III. Cleared/dominates orbit around sun.

Of the following choices, which solar system object(s) satisifies qualifications I and II, but does not satisfy qualification III?
(A) Jupiter's moon, Amalthea, a captured asteroid.
(B) Haumea, a dwarf planet.
(C) Earth's moon.
(D) Venus.
(E) (More than one of the above choices.)
(F) (None of the above choices.)

Correct answer: (B)

Haumea, a dwarf planet, directly orbits the sun (qualification I) and is rounded in shape (qualification II), but does not gravitationally dominate its neighboring Kuiper Belt objects. Both Almatheta and Earth's moon do not meet qualification I, while Venus meets all three qualifications.

Section 30674
Exam code: quiz07n4rS
(A) : 7 students
(B) : 18 students
(C) : 7 students
(D) : 0 students
(E) : 0 students
(F) : students

"Success level": 73% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.11

Section 30676
Exam code: quiz07sPh3
(A) : 2 students
(B) : 17 students
(C) : 3 students
(D) : 4 students
(E) : 5 students
(F) : 0 students

"Success level": 59% (including partial credit for multiple-choice)
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 1.00

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