Quiz about The Stars We Find Along The Way
Quiz about The Stars We Find Along The Way

The Stars We Find Along The Way Quiz


This quiz is all about some notable stars in each of the constellations that correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac, as we cruise through each of them in order. Let's pack our bags and go for it!

A multiple-choice quiz by Gispepfu. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Gispepfu
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
410,516
Updated
Oct 14 22
# Qns
12
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
10 / 12
Plays
196
Last 3 plays: skatersarehott (2/12), Guest 184 (1/12), linkan (7/12).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Aries main asterism is formed by three prominent stars, of which the brightest one is mostly referred to by the traditional name of "Hamal". This is the Arabic word for what animal? Hint

Bear
Snake
Ram
Deer

2. One of the "oldest" constellations, as it has been known since the Bronze Ages, Taurus contains the 14th brightest star in the sky. What is its common name, also taken from Arabic? Hint

Electra
Merope
Maia
Aldebaran

3. Gemini, the Twins, is associated with the Greek myth of Castor and Pollux. It's no surprise, then, that its two brightest stars are also named after them. However, which one is the brightest?

Answer: (Castor or Pollux, C or P)
4. Moving on to Cancer, we'll stop at a star which is not the brightest of the constellation, but instead holds another odd record. What would that be? Give it a long thought if you need to. Hint

Longest name of all the known stars
It is actually a black hole
Shortest name of all the known stars
It moves back and forth between both "pincers"

5. Unlike its neighbor, Leo contains several bright stars, making it very prominent in the night sky. Which is its brightest object, with a name that's Latin for "little king"? Hint

Regulus
Algeiba
Denebola
Zosma

6. To find Virgo's brightest star, there is a mnemonic that goes "Arc to Arcturus and Spike to ______". What goes in the blank? Hint

Zavijava
Porryma
Spica
Kang

7. Before being considered as a separate constellation, Libra was originally thought to be part of the neighboring Scorpius. Hence, some of its stars retain the root "Zuben-" on its names, which derives from the Arabic word for "claw". Which of the following is NOT a star in Libra? Hint

Zubeneschamali
Zubenelschaffen
Zubenelgenubi
Zubenelhakrabi

8. The name of Scorpius' main star can be found tying together a working insect and an ancient belligerent god. What is it? Hint

Paikauhale
Sargas
Girtab
Antares

9. The brightest stars of Sagittarius, when seen from some parts of the northern hemisphere, form an asterism that is known by the name of what household item? It may help to know that sometimes you can see a puff of steam at one of its extremes. Hint

Broom
Teapot
Blender
Radio

10. Capricornus' brightest star is actually a binary system, called "Deneb Algedi". It's a variable star, meaning that its apparent brightness changes through time. In this case, why does that happen? (Remember, it's actually TWO stars)

Because they "burn up" their energy, and need time to replenish it
Because the stars periodically eclipse each other

11. This star's name would make you think it belongs to another zodiacal constellation, but it's actually found in Aquarius. What's its name, shared with a mountain in Hong Kong? Hint

Crabapple
Lionrock
Bullfighter
Scapegoat

12. Pisces contains the closest solitary white dwarf to the Milky Way galaxy. It's named after a Dutch astronomer. What was his name? Hint

Heber Doust Curtis
Harlow Shapley
Adriaan van Maanen
George Ellery Hale


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Aries main asterism is formed by three prominent stars, of which the brightest one is mostly referred to by the traditional name of "Hamal". This is the Arabic word for what animal?

Answer: Ram

The name is derived from "ras al-hamal", meaning "head of the ram". The other two stars of the asterism form the "horns of the ram" (qarna al-hamal). Even though it's not as bright as some other stars in the night sky, it is one of the "navigational stars", i.e., stars that are used as a point of reference in navigation.

Also, in ancient times, Hamal was the brightest star in the constellation that contained the northern vernal equinox, the point where the Sun's apparent path crosses the celestial equator from south to north, thus marking the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. This is the reason why the horoscope starts at Aries (although, recently, the equinox has moved to the Pisces constellation).
2. One of the "oldest" constellations, as it has been known since the Bronze Ages, Taurus contains the 14th brightest star in the sky. What is its common name, also taken from Arabic?

Answer: Aldebaran

Taurus' most notable features are the Pleiades and Hyades, two of the nearest open star clusters to Earth. However, Aldebaran is not part of those. Derived from the Arabic word for "the follower", Aldebaran's name illustrates the fact that it seems to "follow" the Pleiades during the motion of the celestial sphere in the night.

Although it's cooler than the Sun, is a lot more massive, and about 400 times more luminous. Therefore, it is relatively easy to observe it in the night sky, particularly between November and December in the northern hemisphere.
3. Gemini, the Twins, is associated with the Greek myth of Castor and Pollux. It's no surprise, then, that its two brightest stars are also named after them. However, which one is the brightest?

Answer: Pollux

Gemini constellation resembles two stick figures, representing the twins. Both stars mark the head of each of the figures. While Pollux is a single star, Castor is actually a system consisting of six stars.

Pollux is the 17th brightest star in the sky. It has twice the mass and almost nine times the radius of the Sun. At 33,78 light years of distance from the Earth, it is the nearest giant star to the Solar System.
4. Moving on to Cancer, we'll stop at a star which is not the brightest of the constellation, but instead holds another odd record. What would that be? Give it a long thought if you need to.

Answer: Longest name of all the known stars

Stemming from Ancient Babylonian, the star is called "Arkushanangarushashutu", meaning "the southeast star in the crab". Its most common name is "Asellus Australis", or "southern donkey colt" in Latin.

Cancer is one of the dimmest zodiacal constellations (with some actually considering it the faintest of all), and it's invisible to the naked eye when under city skies. Its brightest star, for the record, is Beta Cancri, with the common name of "Al Tarf" or just "Tarf".
5. Unlike its neighbor, Leo contains several bright stars, making it very prominent in the night sky. Which is its brightest object, with a name that's Latin for "little king"?

Answer: Regulus

Lying at the base of an asterism named "The Sickle", Regulus is a quadruple star system, with a magnitude of around 1,36 (magnitude is measured on an inverse logarithmic scale, so the lower the magnitude, the brighter the object).

This star is an example of what's called "gravity darkening". Due to its high rotational speed, it distorts its shape into an oblate spheroid, causing the poles to be closer to the centre of mass, and have a higher temperature and brightness, than the equatorial regions.
6. To find Virgo's brightest star, there is a mnemonic that goes "Arc to Arcturus and Spike to ______". What goes in the blank?

Answer: Spica

Virgo is the largest constellation in the zodiac, and the second largest in the sky, after Hydra.
Spica is its brightest star, and the mnemonic provides a way to find it in the sky, which involves following the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to Arcturus (in the constellation of B÷otes), and continuing in the same angular distance ("spike") to reach Spica.
7. Before being considered as a separate constellation, Libra was originally thought to be part of the neighboring Scorpius. Hence, some of its stars retain the root "Zuben-" on its names, which derives from the Arabic word for "claw". Which of the following is NOT a star in Libra?

Answer: Zubenelschaffen

Zubeneschamali (the brightest) means "the northern claw", Zubenelgenubi means "the southern claw", and Zubenelhakrabi means "the claw of the scorpion". Even though these names trace back to when they were considered part of Scorpius constellation, they were officially registered that way by the International Astronomical Union in their list of approved names.

"Zubenelschaffen" does not exist, not only as a star, but as a word itself. It's a made-up weird mixture of Arabic and German.
8. The name of Scorpius' main star can be found tying together a working insect and an ancient belligerent god. What is it?

Answer: Antares

"Ant" + "Ares" was the solution to that mini riddle.

Antares is one of the biggest stars visible to the naked eye. It is a binary system, with its main component being a red supergiant. It's easier to see from the southern hemisphere, due to its declination, and it's located near the center of the constellation, thus leading to the nickname "heart of the scorpion".

The name Antares comes from Ancient Greek, meaning "rival to Ares", referring to its reddish color, similar to that of Mars. Remember: Mars was the Roman god of war, and the Greek equivalent was Ares. In fact, in modern Greek, the red planet still retains the name "Ares".
9. The brightest stars of Sagittarius, when seen from some parts of the northern hemisphere, form an asterism that is known by the name of what household item? It may help to know that sometimes you can see a puff of steam at one of its extremes.

Answer: Teapot

A total of eight stars form the so called "teapot", with one of them being Kaus Australis, the brightest star of the constellation.

Sagittarius is located very near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Under optimal observation conditions, a dense part of the galaxy lies just above the "spout" of the teapot, giving the impression of steam coming out of it.
10. Capricornus' brightest star is actually a binary system, called "Deneb Algedi". It's a variable star, meaning that its apparent brightness changes through time. In this case, why does that happen? (Remember, it's actually TWO stars)

Answer: Because the stars periodically eclipse each other

"Deneb Algedi", meaning "The Tail of the Goat" in Arabic, is part of a larger system named "Delta Capricorni" under the Bayer designation, being the brightest component of the whole system and of the constellation itself (which, by the way, is the smallest one in all of the zodiac).

It's one of many examples of what is called "eclipsing binary". The name is pretty self explanatory: the stars revolve around each other, and the orbital plane is so close together in the line of sight of the observer, that they eclipse each other alternately. The brightness variation of the system will depend of the luminosity of the star that is visible during each of the cycles.
11. This star's name would make you think it belongs to another zodiacal constellation, but it's actually found in Aquarius. What's its name, shared with a mountain in Hong Kong?

Answer: Lionrock

Also listed as HD 212771, this is a subgiant star, having five times the radius of the Sun and 1,56 times its mass.

It hosts a massive planet orbiting around it. The common names for both the star and the planet ("Lionrock" and "Victoriapeak") were selected at the 2019 NameExoWorlds campaign, being proposed by Hong Kong and based on two famous mountains located on the island.
12. Pisces contains the closest solitary white dwarf to the Milky Way galaxy. It's named after a Dutch astronomer. What was his name?

Answer: Adriaan van Maanen

Van Maanen discovered this star in 1917, and it was later named after him. This type of star doesn't have a source of energy, since fusion doesn't take place in them. As a result, they are very faint, and extremely dense. They are thought to be the final evolutionary state of stars that doesn't have a mass high enough to turn into a black hole or a neutron star.
Van Maanen's Star is not part of the outline of Pisces constellation, but it's located within its boundaries.
Although the nearest known white dwarf is Sirius B, it's actually part of a binary star system, while Van Maanen's is a single star.
Source: Author Gispepfu

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor rossian before going online.
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