I don’t know about you, but where I live, it's so freakin' hot right now that I think I'm starting to understand what a roasted chicken feels like. But let's forget about personal comfort (or lack thereof) for a while and take a closer look at temperature, this fundamental measurement in physics, and find out some cool facts about it!
Have you ever wondered how hot things can get? Well, many scientists surely have. And the short answer is that nobody really knows for sure. The hottest temperature believed to have ever existed in the universe is called the Planck temperature, and they say it occurred a fraction of a second (10^-43 seconds, to be more precise) after the Big Bang. It's about 10^32 Kelvin, which means 255 nonillion degrees F! To put that into perspective, it's billion billion times hotter than the temperature of quasars and gamma ray bursts. For even more perspective, know that the Sun is only around 10,000 degrees F at its surface.
You won't believe this, but it's actually on our good ol' moon! In some craters on the moon, due to their towering rims that block the Sun from ever reaching their center, the temperatures are only about 30 degrees C (86 F) above absolute zero. These temperatures, as measured by NASA, are even colder than those on Pluto!
Some people establish their home sweet home in the most unlikely of places. The towns of Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon, both in Siberia (not a big surprise, is it?) are the coldest permanently inhabited places on Earth. The temperatures there average below -50 degrees F in Winter. At this point, what with the heat here where I live, moving to Siberia sounds quite appealing actually…
It's 7.2 trillion degrees F, about 250,000 higher than the temperature at the Sun's core. This scorching temperature was achieved in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, at the Brooklyn Natural Laboratory, in an attempt to recreate Big Bang-like conditions.
Until the late 19th century, it was widely believed that heat was a fluid or gas (called caloric) that flowed from a hotter body to a colder one. This sounds so crazy nowadays, right? What's even more interesting is that many of the predictions that arose from the caloric theory actually hold true, despite the fact that they're based on a huge misunderstanding.
While we're facing global warming, it seems that outer space is constantly getting colder. Theoretical physicists and astronomers have long predicted this, and, recently, measurements taken by an international team from Australia, France, Sweden and Germany have confirmed that, indeed, the universe is cooling down by around 1 degree Celsius (33.8 F) every 3 billion years.
No. Your head is no more efficient at losing heat than the rest of your body parts. The amount of heat any part of your body can lose largely depends on its level of exposure. If you wear shorts on a cold winter day, you will easily lose more heat through your legs than your head. Your head simply seems to get colder because of its high concentration of nerve cells, making it 5 times more sensitive to temperature changes than other body parts.
What do you think about these facts regarding temperature and heat? Do you know other interesting ones you'd like to share with us?
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