I'm glad you're interested in collaborating on the ConcepTests for Astronomy WWW database project! It's getting easier and easier as the database builds up. I trust that none of the options will take you more time than you can save by using the database.

For the Greater Good, you can get a password by

1) submitting at least TWO ConcepTests (down from 10!). See further instructions below for content and format.
2) committing to provide 5 ConcepTest questions or
3) committing to provide your feedback/suggestions on 10 questions you think could be improved.

You can SEE those folks who have outstanding committments as well as the heroes who have contributed to the project.

I'm looking forward to your contributions! Please check the tally of the number of questions so far included (by filename). Contributions are most valued where numbers are small! These should be short, conceptual, multiple choice tests that can be presented without elaborate diagrams. If you have diagrams to contribute, that's great! We hope to expand the project to include illustrations, animations etc. Please make sure to check all contributions carefully for accuracy, completeness and of course, spelling and grammar. As 'managing editor' I will read all contributions critically. For obvious reasons of copyright infringement, I strongly discourage submission of non-original material. Since I can't check every book, I will not be held liable.

The seed for the ConcepTest database is several hundred questions of my own. I expect that the site will be organic and growing (i.e. will benefit from additions and edits), especially in the initial phases. I'm sure we'll all benefit from its use, particularly if it is kept within the community of interest (instructors). Dissemination that is too widespread threatens the effectiveness (and evaluation) of the method. Evaluation will be important to further improve the method, and to promote its use.

As part of the book contract with Prentice Hall, this WWW database will remain accessible. However, as is reasonable, the publisher wants to avoid liability, and I certainly want to avoid any surprises or misunderstandings. That's why I'm writing to ask your explicit permission to publish what you submit in the book. In the book as with the WWW pages, all contributing authors will be prominently acknowledged, but each question cannot be individually credited. Note that not all ConcepTests that are submitted will appear in either place, and many may be edited as well. I will be contributing by far the largest number of ConcepTests, and attempting to gear them wherever possible towards common misconceptions, as should you!


How to Contribute ConcepTests

Quick, conceptual, multiple-choice questions can be used for two purposes simultaneously; a) To quickly gauge student comprehension during a class lecture, allowing real-time adaptation of the lecture, and b) To challenge students to confront misconceptions by discussing conceptual puzzles with peers in a collaborative atmosphere. If you contribute, we GREATLY appreciate a format similar to that below, with answers marked as shown, and ASCII email is the preferred method of transfer. Otherwise, we can adapt your format.

Constellations in astronomy are
a) physical grouping of genuinely associated stars.
$b) arbitrary but useful subdivisions of the sky.
c) a conjuncture of planets.
d) the most accurate way to predict the future.

Why does the relationship between recession velocity and distance (the Hubble relation) hold well only over very large distances, and not, say, in our own galaxy or within a large cluster of galaxies?
a) On small scales, galaxies don't move much relative to one another.
$b) On small scales the influence of local gravitational effects is far greater than the influence of expansion.
c) The Universe only expands on large scales, not on small scales.
d) Space-time only curves on large scales.
e) There are too few objects (e.g. stars and galaxies) close to us to enable us to state a Hubble relation with any confidence.

To determine if a star in the sky is more luminous than our sun, you would need to know:
a) how fast it is moving
b) how far away it is
$c) how bright it looks from here and how far away it is
d) how fast it is moving and how far away it is
e) how bright it looks from here and its diameter

Brown dwarfs are
$a) too small to initiate hydrogen fusion.
b) the aftermath of red giant contraction.
c) among the youngest protostars.
d) expected to pair with white dwarfs rather than each other.

Star clusters are useful to stellar astronomers because the clusters
$a) contain stars that are all about the same age.
b) contain stars of a wide variety of ages
c) contain stars all at the same stage of stellar evolution.

Life is less likely to evolve on planets around massive main sequence stars because massive stars
a) pull planets inward wth their powerful gravity
b) engulf planets inside their large radii
$c) cease nuclear burning in a time shorter than evolution timescales
d) heat planets until they evaporate

The main sequence extends from
$a) high luminosity, high temperature to low luminosity, low temperature
b) high luminosity, low temperature to low luminosity, low temperature
c) high luminosity, low temperature to low luminosity, high temperature
d) high luminosity, high temperature to low luminosity high temperature.

As a massive star collapses, the gravitational field on the stellar surface
a) doubles
$b) increases strongly
c) decreases with the square of the decreasing size
d) remains the same.

If the sun were suddenly to be replaced by a solar-mass black hole the earth would
$a) remain in the same orbit
b) move into a much smaller orbit
c) be pulled into the black hole and disappear
d) suddenly disappear

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Phone is (617)495-7057 and FAX (617)495-7356, at the
Center for Astrophysics,
60 Garden St., Cambridge MA 02138