A supernova is a brief stellar explosion so luminous that it can briefly outshine an entire galaxy. While the explosion itself takes less than fifteen seconds, supernovae take weeks or months to fade from view; during that time, a supernova can emit an amount of energy equivalent to the amount of energy the sun is expected to radiate over its entire lifespan. Supernovae generate enough heat to create heavy elements, such as mercury, gold, and silver. Although supernovae explode frequently, few of them are visible (from Earth) to the naked eye. In 1604 in Padua, Italy, a supernova became visible, appearing as a star so bright that it was visible in daylight for more than a year. Galileo, who lectured at the university, gave several lectures widely attended by the public. The lectures not only sought to explain the origin of the “star” (some posited that perhaps it was merely “vapour near the earth”), but seriously undermined the views of many philosophers that the heavens were unchangeable. This idea was foundational to a worldview underpinned by a central and all-important Earth, with celestial bodies merely rotating around it.
The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) give the history of supernovae
(B) describe a shift in thought as a result of a natural event
(C) juxtapose two opposing views about supernovae
(D) corroborate the view that the earth is not central to the universe
(E) explain how science and philosophy interrelate
Correct Answer - B - (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)
Consider each of the answer choices separately and indicate all that apply.
Which of the following can be inferred by the passage?
- Supernovae can take over a year to fade from view.
- Prior to 1604, no one had ever seen a supernova.
- Galileo convinced philosophers of the incorrectness of their views.
Correct Answer - 1 - (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)
The author mentions which of the following as a result of the supernova of 1604?
(A) The supernova created and dispersed the heavy elements out of which the Earth and everything on it is made.
(B) Galileo explained the origin of the supernova.
(C) The public was interested in hearing lectures about the phenomenon.
(D) Galileo’s lectures were opposed by philosophers.
(E) Those who thought the supernova was “vapour” were proved wrong.
Correct Answer - C - (click and drag your mouse to see the answer)
Question Discussion & Explanation