Exposing PseudoAstronomy

November 11, 2008

Humorous Homework Answers

Filed under: humor,Miscellaneous — Stuart Robbins @ 1:52 am
Tags: , ,

I thought I’d lighten the tone and include some responses I’ve gotten in past years on homework answers. Most of them speak for themselves, but there are some that I’ll append a small explanation to.

Pay close attention to spelling, as these were copied directly and sometimes the humor lies in the mis-spelling of just one word.

(1) The Big Bang occurred, because of a rule in Astronomy: If you squish it, it heats up.

(2) Since Stars are made mostly of Hydrogen and helium and so are we it is safe to say that humans are made of “star stuff.” Th chemical male up of th two are similar.

(3) Venus has phases because as it is following its orbital path, it is also traveling on an epicycle. This causes it to fluctuate on which side of the earth Venus is on. (Note to readers – the concept of “epicycles” was used to explain the motions of the planets when we had an Earth-centered solar system. That and the second sentence of this answer implies the person doesn’t realize the Sun is the center of the solar system.)

(4) The reason that Pluto doesn’t fit these classifications [of terrestrial or jovian planet] is because with respect to distance from the sun and temperature, it is a jovial planet.

(5) Pluto has no moons. (Apparently forgetting about the moon Charon which has been known of since the 1970s and is half as big as Pluto. Since this particular answer back in 2004, two more moons, Nix and Hydra, were discovered.)

(6) [Terrestrial planets] have an abundance of mental deep in their interiors.

(7) Most of the matter in the universe is in the sun, the largest body in the universe.

(8) The reason that the planets in our solar system aren’t made up of primarily hydrogen and helium even though the universe is made up of 98% hydrogen and helium, is because the universe was created by the collapse of the solar nebula and as the cloud squeezed the pressure created heat and formed all the other forms of matter that exist today during the process. (This person is confusing the solar system with the universe.)

(9) For one, the majority of the mass in the universe is located in our sun (made up mostly of hydrogen and helium). Furthermore, the largest planets are also mostly hydrogen and helium. Considering this, the Earth and moon (and other terrestrial planets) make up a small portion of the whole solar system.

(10) Earth is made up of medals and rocks and not primarily hydrogen and helium.

(11) Hydrogen and helium fuss together in the center of the sun creating new elements. (There are so many ways to interpret this answer …)

(12) Much of the asteroids and minor planets orbiting the sun appear to be debris from a past explosion that collided with the solar nebula.

(13) Hypothetically if the Sun all of a sudden stopped thermonuclear fusion the Sun would start to contract, because the outer layers would no longer be supported by the internal gas presser.

(14) I calculated the thermal speed of hydrogen to be 2405.08 and that of deuterium to be 2892215.569. However, I’m horrible at math and could be totally messing this up, especially as it is late at night since I have rehearsal until 11 every night (ah, the life of a theater major…but I digress).

(15) The spacecraft of the Pioneer 11 mission would have been sucked into the Cassini gap by the gravitational pull. So they wouldn’t have a spacecraft anymore.

(16) Titan is the second largest satellite in the atmosphere.

(17) In the universe the Earth is the fifth largest planet.

(18) The universe is about 10 times bigger than the Milky Way galaxy.

(19) The entire universe is infinitely large, containing trillions of universes.

(20) The sun is 109.75 times larger in dia[meter than Earth]. The milky way is 73.17 times larger than Earth in Diameter. (Somehow, our galaxy is smaller than the sun?)

(21a) The entire galaxy is another 10 times larger than the Milky Way.
(21b) The Galaxy is about 1,000 quadrillion kilometers aka 100,000 light-years. And then, the galaxy is even larger at about 1,000,000 light years.

(22) A solar day is four minutes longer than the cideral day. The Earth violates around itself and around the Sun. This violation around the Sun causes the earth to violate aproximately 1 more degree to complete a solar day.

(23) A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly infront of the moon.

(24) The Cornucopian principle is the removal of Earth from the position of great cosmic significance. (Confusing “Copernican” with “Cornucopian.”)

(25) Question: Name and describe all the different types of objects found in the solar system.
Answer: Extrasolar planets – planets that revolve around a star other than out sun.

(26) Next you find the sun, this is the largest object in our universe and accounts for 99.9% of the universe’s mass.

(27) Since the moon and Mars rotate so slowly, they have a very low escape speed. With such a low escape speed, gases can leave and not form an atmosphere. (Escape velocity has to do with mass, not rotation. Also, Venus rotates more slowly than either the moon or Mars, and it has an atmosphere so thick that it’s the equivalent of being under 1 km of water on Earth. Not only that, but Mars’ day is just an hour longer than Earth’s.)

(28) Mars is red because it is composed of materials that are red. (Take that, teacher!)

(29) Uranus was discovered by an amateur astronomer nerd William Herschel.


  1. Awesome stuff. What age were these students?

    Comment by WTF Chuck? — November 13, 2008 @ 1:07 pm | Reply

  2. These were college undergrads, so likely aged 18-22, probably mostly 18-19. They were in the intro astronomy class for non-majors back at my undergrad institution, when I was a grader for that class about 4-5 years ago.

    Comment by astrostu206265 — November 13, 2008 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

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