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A Ten-Question Quiz With Detailed Answers

Ask your family or friends these questions and test their knowledge. You can give detailed answers about the universe that may surprise them.

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 5 months ago 4 min read
A Ten-Question Quiz With Detailed Answers
Photo by Shayna Douglas on Unsplash

British spelling

No googling!

Multiple-choice answers. Good luck.

Question 1

Elements are made with atoms that have the same number of protons in their nucleus (their centre). The number of protons in an atom is its atomic number.

There are 118 elements in the periodic table, organised by atomic number. The lightest element is hydrogen, consisting of just one proton and one spinning electron.

What is the second-lightest element?

Oxygen, Helium, or Nitrogen.


Question 2

Water covers just over 70% of the Earth's surface, and the total volume of water contained on our planet and in the atmosphere is estimated to be 1,386,000,000 cubic kilometres.

Imagine if our planet were a smooth sphere with no deep oceans or high mountains, therefore no dry ground.

How deep would the water be all around the globe?

830 metres, 2.7 kilometres, or 4.6 kilometres.


Question 3

We live on a planet that, along with the Sun and the rest of the solar system, is orbiting the centre of our galaxy the Milky Way. There are a few types of galaxies, but the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy.

What is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way?

Andromeda, Triangulum, or Pinwheel.


Question 4

The Karman line is regarded by most experts as the beginning of space. Most of the Earth's atmosphere is below that imaginary line, but there is still a thin atmosphere above, which gets thinner the farther up you go.

How far up from the surface of the Earth is the Karman line?

100 kilometres, 300 kilometres, or 600 kilometres.


Question 5

The Sun has eight orbiting planets, but it used to have nine. In 2006, Pluto had its planet title taken away.

What title has Pluto got now?

Asteroid, minor planet, or dwarf planet.


Question 6

The Earth is over 4.5 billion years old and was formed with leftover material not long after the formation of the Sun.

Roughly, how long ago were primitive life forms living on our planet?

900 million years, 2.1 billion years, or 3.7 billion years.


Question 7

If you know the speed of light and the distance to the moon, then this question will be easy to answer!

Light leaving the moon would take how long to reach the surface of our planet?

Over one second, over 10 seconds, or over 20 seconds.


Question 8

Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, has no moons; Venus, the second closest, has no moons either; and, as you know, Earth has only one moon.

How many moons are in orbit around Mars?

No moons, 2 moons, or 7 moons.


Question 9

The Solar System is racing along at about 828,000 kilometres per hour as it orbits the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. That epic journey takes a long time to complete and is called a galactic or cosmic year.

Roughly, how many Earth years is a galactic or cosmic year?

34 million years, 230 million years, or 470 million years.


Question 10

The Earth is spinning on its axis and makes one complete revolution every 24 hours.

If you were standing on the widest part of the Earth, the equator, how fast would you be travelling in kilometres per hour?

600 kph, 1,600 kph, or 2,600 kph.

By NASA on Unsplash


Answer to question 1: Helium.

Helium is the second-lightest chemical element, with the symbol (He) and atomic number 2. The more protons an atom has, the heavier it is. You might have picked up a piece of lead and noticed how heavy it feels. Lead is a chemical element with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82.


Answer to question 2: 2.7 kilometres.

The depth of water all around the Earth would be roughly 2.7 kilometres. If that were true, then we land-dwellers would not exist.


Answer to question 3: Andromeda galaxy.

The Andromeda galaxy is a barred spiral galaxy with a diameter of about 220,000 light-years and approximately 2.5 million light-years from Earth.

Although very small compared to the vast universe, 2.5 million light-years is a very large distance; in one year, light will travel 9.46 trillion kilometres; a trillion is 1 followed by 12 zeros.


Answer to question 4: 100 kilometres.

Yes, our atmosphere is very thin compared to the size of our planet. The space station orbits the Earth at 420 kilometres from its surface; commercial aircraft can fly at over 10 kilometres high.


Answer to question 5: Dwarf planet.

The International Astronomical Union officially classifies five celestial objects in our solar system as dwarf planets: They are Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Makemake, and Haumea.


Answer to question 6: 3.7 billion years.

Consider yourself very special and unique; the odds against you being here are astronomical and extremely close to zero.

Part of those odds is that you are the latest result of an unbroken chain of reproduction that started well over 3 billion years ago.


Answer to question 7: Over one second.

The speed of light is almost 300,000 kilometres per second, and our natural satellite, the Moon, is 384,000 kilometres from the Earth.


Answer to question 8: 2 moons.

Mars has two irregular-shaped moons called Phobos and Deimos; they are not big enough to form the spherical-shaped objects we see throughout the Solar System. Compared to our moon, they are very small in size. Phobos has a diameter of just over 22 kilometres, while Deimos measures over 12 kilometres.


Answer to question 9: 230 million years.

The Sun, the Earth, and the millions of other objects that make up the Solar System travel around the centre of our galaxy once every 230 million years. As I said, that long journey is called a galactic or cosmic year, so you could say that the Earth is almost 20 cosmic years old, which sounds a lot younger than 4.5 billion years old.


Answer to question 10: 1,600 kilometres per hour

If you were to walk north or south from the equator, your speed would keep decreasing.

The end.


You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

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Unravelling the Universe

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky—were they curious about what the heavens had to hide? 

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Comments (3)

  • Lamar Wiggins5 months ago

    Well, I do love astronomy, and managed to get most of them right, including- 1,3 5, 7,8, 9 and 10. The other 3 got the wheels turning but failed to guess correctly! Thanks for sharing such a fun exercise.

  • Enjoyed the quiz. I did get a few of them right. Of course, that would be about what you'd expect just from random guessing, lol.

  • This was a fun or uh tough... I got them all wrong. But it was still a fun read. I enjoyed this!!!

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