Grab a beanie and a cup of hot cocoa, this quiz is all about cold things! So will you find this quiz refreshing, or will it chill you to the bone?

#1. Bose-Einstein condensates are sometimes known as a fifth state of matter, where particles are cooled to very cold temperatures close to absolute zero. Do you know how many degrees is absolute zero?

Theoretically, absolute zero is the temperature where particles stop moving and it’s the coldest temperature possible. The Celsius scale was changed in 1954 so that absolute zero was exactly –273.15 °C.

#2. Australia only has one permanent natural piece of ice – the Murchison Glacier, in south-west Tasmania.

False! There are no permanent ice caps or glaciers in Australia. The Murchison Glacier is actually in Aotearoa New Zealand.

#3. In 1991, the volcano on Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted and blasted lots of ash into the atmosphere, which scattered and absorbed incoming sunlight and cooled the Earth down. Approximately how many degrees did this eruption cool global temperatures?

The Mount Pinatubo eruption was one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in recent human history. The aerosols it spewed into the atmosphere cooled down the Earth by about 0.5 degrees Celsius for 2 years after the eruption.

#4. Which place is colder: the Arctic (the North Pole) or Antarctica (the South Pole)?

Antarctica is a lot colder than the Arctic. There are many reasons – most of Antarctica is at least 2,500 metres high, higher than Mount Kosciusko. The Arctic is also warmed by the ocean underneath it, while Antarctica is on a continent.

#5. What’s the coldest temperature recorded on Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun?

Although Mercury gets very hot on its sunward side, the far side is quite cool. But the coldest parts of Mercury are deep craters near the poles that never, ever get any sunlight.

Was I right?


Congratulations! You are a real science whiz!

Oh dear! Better brush up before the next quiz!


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