Mastermind Club

Quiz 2022

Number 15


Set by Mel Kinsey


1/ The brightest star in the northern hemisphere, and the fourth brightest in the night sky, which orange giant star in the constellation Bootes derives its name from the Greek for ‘Guardian of the Bear’, a reference to Bootes being next to the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor?  


2/ Born 1943 in Northern Ireland, the astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was the first person to discover what astronomical phenomenon in Nov 1967, when she was still a graduate student? Her omission from the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics has been a point of controversy ever since.  


3/ In 1930, 11-year-old Venetia Burney suggested the name ‘Pluto’ for the newly-discovered ninth planet of the Solar System. It seems that naming new celestial bodies is a trait that runs in this family, as more than fifty years ago, her grand uncle Henry Madan gave the names to which two objects, discovered by the American astronomer Asaph Hall in 1877?   

Phobos and Deimos

(moons of Mars)


4/ All the moons of Uranus are currently named after characters from the plays by William Shakespeare except three-these are named after characters in Alexander Pope’s poem ‘The Rape of the Lock’. They are Ariel, Belinda and which other moon, named after a gnome who descends to the Cave of Spleens to retrieve a magical bag and vial?  


5/ Launching on 6th March, 2016, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is a collaboration between the European and Russian space agencies to study and map the atmosphere of Mars. It carries with it an EDM (Entry, Descent & Landing Demonstrator Module) lander named after which astronomer (born 1835), who first observed the network of linear structures on Mars which he named `canali’?

Giovanni Schiaparelli

6/ Approximately 550 light-years from the Earth, which red supergiant (with a radius 883 times that of our Sun) is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, thus also called ‘the heart of the scorpion’? Together with Aldebaran, Regulus and Formalhaut, it forms what is known as the ‘Royal Stars of Persia’. 


7/ The brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor, it is also the 7th brightest star in the night sky. Its name derives from the fact that it precedes Sirius (the Dog Star) as it moves across the sky. Which star is this, which forms the Winter Triangle with Sirius and Betelgeuse?


8/ First discovered in 1801, which is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and has now been classified as a dwarf planet?


9/ Allan Sandage and Thomas A. Matthews are credited for being the first to definitely identify one of these n 1963, while the Chinese-born U.S. astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu first coined the name in 1964. What six-letter name is this, which describes an astronomical object of very high luminosity found in the centres of some galaxies and powered by gas spiralling at high velocity into a supermassive black hole


10/ Around 1700 years before Copernicus, which ancient Greek astronomer & mathematician apparently presented the first heliocentric model (with the Sun at the center of the known universe)? Evidence for this comes from Archimedes’ book ‘The Sand Reckoner’, as very little of his own work has survived.    

Aristarchus (of Samos)

11/ White dwarf, red giant and neutron are types of what astronomical object?


12/ Conducted between 1973 and 1978 by the British Interplanetary Society, the Daedalus Project was a study which aimed to design an unmanned spacecraft with which celestial body as its destination? Lying 5.9 light years away in the constellation Ophiuchus, this red dwarf is named after the American astronomer who first measured its proper motion in 1916.

Barnard’s Star

13/ Discovered by Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz in 1995 using the radial velocity method,  51 Pegasi b is the first extrasolar planet discovered to orbit a main sequence star (51 Pegasi). By what rather apt name is 51 Pegasi b (i.e. the planet) sometimes also referred to?


14/ Which planet of the Solar System is unique in that its axis of rotation is tilted nearly into the plane of its revolution around the sun, i.e. its north and south poles therefore lie where most other planets have their equators? One hypothesis is that a large protoplanet smashed into it billions of years ago, sending the planet tumbling and eventually settling into its current axial tilt. 


15/ Discovered by William Herschel in 1787, Uranus’ largest moon is named after which Shakespearean character?


16/ From its completion in 1963 till 2016, the Arecibo Observatory is home to the world’s largest single-aperture telescope. On which Caribbean island is it located?

Puerto Rico

17/ Photographs taken in July 2015 by the New Horizons spacecraft revealed a large (475km diameter) dark area near the north pole of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon. This area has since been unofficially named after which fictitious land of darkness, death and destruction?  


18/ In 1990, the space shuttle Discovery launched into space with what famous piece of equipment aboard?

The Hubble Space Telescope

19/ Proteus and Nereid are amongst the moons of which planet?   


20/ The third brightest star in the constellation Orion, which type B star (around 8.4 times the Sun’s mass) was also called the Amazon Star? The astronauts in the 1968 film ‘Planet of the Apes’ initially thought they had landed on a planet orbiting this star; and it also gives its name to a character in the ‘Harry Potter’ universe.


21/ Which 19th-century French mathematician, who specialized in celestial mechanics, is best known for predicting the existence and position of Neptune using only mathematical calculations? He sent the coordinates to the German astronomer Johann Galle, who subsequently verified them.     

Urbain Le Verrier

22/ A joint venture between NASA and the European Space Agency, the space probe Ulysses was launched in 1990 to orbit and study which body of the Solar System?      

The Sun

23/ Launched by NASA in 2009 as part of the Discovery Program of relatively low-cost, focused primary science missions, the space observatory designed to discovery Earth-sized exo-planets orbiting other stars in our Milky Way is named after which astronomer?

Johannes Kepler

24/ Noted for his contribution to improving the reflecting telescope, which 19th-century English merchant and astronomer also discovered the satellite Triton only seventeen days after Johann Gottfried Galle had discovered Neptune? He subsequently discovered three more planetary moons : Hyperion (Saturn), Ariel and Umbriel (Uranus).  

William Lassell 

25/ After Ganymede, which is the next largest planetary moon in the Solar System? It was discovered in 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, and is the only moon with a dense atmosphere