ASVAB General Science Practice Test 775578

Questions 5
Topics Comets, Fahrenheit Scale, Frequency, Light Waves, Speed

Study Guide


A comet is a loose collection of ice, dust, and small rocky particles that, in contrast to an asteroid, has an extended atmosphere surrounding the center. When passing close to the Sun, this atmosphere warms and begins to release gases forming a visible coma or tail.

Fahrenheit Scale

More familiar in the United States is the Fahrenheit scale in which the freezing point of water is 32°F (0°C) and the boiling point is 212°F (100°C). To convert from C° to F° use the formula:

\(F° = {9 \over 5}C° + 32\)

and to convert from F° to C° use:

\(C° = {5 \over 9} (F° - 32)\)


The rate of vibration of sound is called frequency and is measured in hertz (Hz). One hertz is one repetition per second and sounds with high frequency have a higher pitch than sounds with lower frequency. Humans can hear sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

Light Waves

Unlike mechanical sound waves that require a physical medium for propagation, light waves are electromagnetic and can travel through empty space. Light waves are also much faster, travelling at 186,000 m/s vs. 343 m/s for sound waves.


The speed of a sound wave will vary with the medium. Sound travels fastest through media that has particles that are very close together, like metal. Thus, it travels faster through water than through air and doesn't travel at all through a vacuum (there are no particles in empty space to vibrate).