UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
We understand that the temperature of the thermoshere gets as high as 1700 degrees celsius, but if you were outside in the thermosphere it would feel cold... or you would freeze. Is this true? Why is this?
Answer 1:

While particles (molecules) in the thermosphere can get at hot as 1700 degrees Celsius, they are few and far between. Additionally air temperature is a measure of kinetic energy of air particles (molecules) not the total energy stored within the air space. The air in the thermosphere is very thin (the few particles) there is little kinetic energy and can not be compared to air closer to the earth. Although the measured temperature is very hot, the thermosphere would actually feel very cold to us because the total energy of only a few air molecules residing there would not be enough to transfer any appreciable heat to our skin. Therefore the overall temperature feels cold (not that you would have exposed skin) if you got hit by one of the particles it would burn right through you.

Hope this answers your question.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use