A Quiz for Astronomers – Question Five

A Quiz for Astronomers - Question Five

Please study the latest Virgin Galactic star network map [below] which clearly displays the straight line route that connects Planet Earth with the Sun.

Virgin Galatic star network

All spaceships on this straight line route may stop at any of the intervening space stations so that passengers may board or leave the spaceship.

The distance between the Sun and Planet Earth is approximately 499 light seconds.

High resolution solar spectrum

A recent survey produced a colour coded graphics indicating how many passengers arrived at Planet Earth on the last Virgin Galactic spaceships from the Sun.

A black rectangle in the graphic represents an empty seat on the spaceship when it arrived at Planet Earth. The coloured rectangles represent passengers who arrived at Planet Earth on the spaceship.

However, an observant researcher, David Brewster, noticed that the number of passengers arriving at Planet Earth from the Sun varied over time depending upon the sun’s elevation and the season.

Question 5a)

Should the researcher simply assume that the variation in passenger numbers is solely attributable to the number of passengers boarding the spaceship at The Sun?

Question 5b)

Should the researcher simply assume that the variation in passenger numbers is solely attributable to the number of passengers leaving the spaceship en route to the Earth?

Question 5c)

Should the researcher simply assume that the variation in passenger numbers is solely attributable to the number of passengers boarding the spaceship en route to the Earth?

Question 5d)

Would it be correct for the researcher to conclude that they have insufficient data and that they cannot attribute passenger variability to any cause?

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