Science Sunday: Cool as a cucumber?

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During this week’s Science on Sunday, we looked at the phrase "cool as a cucumber." Is it true?

We found out that it depends on how long the cucumber has been out of a fridge. 

For instance, Saturday evening, I used an infrared laser thermometer, which measures the temperature of objects, to compare the temperatures of a tomato, grapefruit, orange and cucumber. All of them were placed in the refrigerator overnight and taken out at 3:00 am.

About 30 minutes after removing them from the fridge, the grapefruit and orange we’re almost identical temperatures, with the tomato being the warmest and the cucumber being the coolest. 

Of the four, the cucumber weighs the most, and the tomato weighs the least. The cucumber has a thicker skin, and holds more moisture, while the tomato has much thinner skin, leaving room for more evaporation. The fruit that held the most water, the cucumber, was cooler because water cools at a slower rate. 

However today, on Science Sunday, I took the fruit out of the fridge, this time for three hours, and it appears it was too long. See how it worked here, and try it out at home on different objects! You can pick up a laser infrared thermometer at most hardware stores. 

Have a weather-related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs. 

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