IB Test. Astrophysics HL. Name_solution / a) Describe what is meant by a nebula [1]

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1 IB Test Astrophysics HL Name_solution / a) Describe what is meant by a nebula [1] an intergalactic cloud of gas and dust where all stars begin to form b) Explain how the Jeans criterion applies to star formation [2] Jeans criterion is met when gravitational attraction within a gas is strong enough to overcome radiation pressure and begin forming a star 2. Outline how hydrogen is fused into helium in: a) stars of mass similar to that of the Sun [3] proton-proton chain: three stage chain, using four hydrogen nuclei and producing He-4 as a product 1

2 b) stars of mass greater than ten solar masses [3] CNO cycle: six-stage process, also uses four hydrogen nuclei, uses carbon-12 as a fuel. C-12 and He-4 produced. 3. a) (i) Explain what is meant by neutron capture [2] Neutrons are captured by the nucleus of other atoms through the strong force, producing a heavier isotope of the same element. (ii) Write a nuclear equation to show nuclide A capturing a neutron to become nuclide B [2] b) Outline the difference between s and r process in nucleosynthesis [6] s-process: slow neutron capture; stars provide small neutron flux as a by-product of carbon, oxygen and silicon burning; nuclides have time to undergo beta decay before further neutron captures so produce heavier and heavier isotopes of element r-process: not enough time for beta decay to occur so successively heavier isotopes are built up very quickly; high neutron flux 2

3 4. Explain why the lifetime of more massive main sequence stars are shorter than those of less massive ones [4] Massive stars need higher core temperatures and pressures to prevent gravitational collapse, and so fusion reactions occur at a greater rate than smaller stars. 5. Briefly explain the roles of electron degeneracy, neutron degeneracy and the Chandrasekhar limit in the evolution of a star that goes supernova [6] After a star goes supernova, left with a white dwarf: gravity is opposed by electron degeneracy pressure. However, if the star is greater than the Chandrasekhar limit, electron degeneracy pressure is not strong enough to oppose gravity, and star collapses to form a neutron star, where gravity is instead opposed by neutron degeneracy pressure. 6. a) Explain the significance of the critical density of matter in the universe with respect to the possible fate of the universe. The critical density of matter in the universe is given by the expression where is the Hubble constant and G is the gravitational constant. An estimate of is 2.7 x. [2] critical density is the necessary density of matter in the universe for it to expand to a maximum limit 3

4 b) (i) Calculate a value for [1] kg m 3 (ii) Using your value for, determine the equivalent number of nucleons per unit volume at this critical density [2] number of nucleons per unit volume = 7. a) Describe the observational evidence in support of an expanding universe [2] redshift of distant galaxies; CMB b) Explain what is meant by the term critical density of the Universe [2] necessary density of matter in the universe for it to expand to a maximum limit c) Discuss the significance of comparing the density of the universe to the critical density when determining the future of the universe [2] fate of universe; big bang vs. big crunch 4

5 8. a) Recent measurements suggest that the mass density of the universe is likely to be less than the critical density. State what this observation implies for the evolution of the universe in the context of the Big bang model. [1] implies universe is open and will keep expanding forever b) (i) Outline what is meant by dark matter [2] evidence points to additional mass in universe; suggested that there is a dark matter halo surrounding the luminous matter in the universe which gives it extra mass (ii) Gibe two possible examples of dark matter [4] MACHOS: high density stars, hidden as they are far away from any luminous object WIMPs: non-baryonic subatomic particles, weakly interacting with baryonic matter; need huge quantities to make up dark matter 5

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