ACT English OG Test 2 - A Birthplace of Stars

Questions 45-60 are based on the following passage.

A Birthplace of Stars

The winter night I attempted to see the famed Orion Nebula, I didn't expect to succeed. I was an inexperienced Q45 astronomer peering through light-polluted skies. But I was eager to test my new telescope's capabilities, and the nebula Q46 being one of the greatest sights in the night sky. So I bundled up, set out my scope to cool down (its mirrors must adjust to the cold air for optimal viewing), and scanned for the constellation Orion.

I had prepared for this night by studying constellations in my astronomy books. Orion appears as a Q47 hunter who, in some mythologies, is fighting Taurus the Bull, another constellation. [A] Even in bright skies, the telltale three stars marking Orion's belt Q48 has been easy to spot. [B] I knew to follow the belt to Orion's sword, a dim line of stars extending south. [C] The middle of these is actually not a star but a nebula, the Great Orion Nebula, a birthplace of scars. [D] When gravity causes the gas and dust to Q49 collapse, forming stars. The Q50 nebula, is home to thousands of young stars, is often called a galactic "nursery." 51

I centered my scope where the nebula should be, inserted my lowest-powered eyepiece, and leaned in to look. I just made out a dull smudge. I couldn't get much improvement even when I adjusted the focuser. Q52 Coincidentally, I switched to a higher-powered eyepiece and Q53 tried a trick I'd read about for viewing faint objects: using averted vision.

The principle of averted vision states that the eye can often see distant objects better by looking to Q54 their one side rather than directly at them.55I focused my eye on an area beside the smudge, and, sure enough, my peripheral vision yielded Q56 far more of a better view of the nebula's swirling clouds. I even saw the Trapezium star cluster, Q57 illuminated by four bright young stars nestled in the nebula like Q58 birds' eggs in a nest.Q59

Question 45