|What is the temperature in space?
|Question Date: 2003-03-20|
The temperature in outer space is quite cold. It
is only a few degrees above absolute zero ( at
-273 Celsius the coldest possible). If you are
interested, you might look up some articles on
recent research into this. Scientists are looking
carefully at differences in the temperature as
they look at different parts of the sky. They are
doing this to try to understand the beginnings of
Well, it depends on where you are! If you are
way out, in between galaxies, the background
temperature of space is about 2.726 Kelvin, or
about -270 Celsius, or - 456 Fahrenheit.
Temperature is really a way to measure the amount
of energy a substance has. So when we say that
room temperature is 22 degrees Celsius, we're
really talking about how much energy an average
air particle has. The air would be at absolute
zero when all of the particles had completely
stopped moving. Though space is not completely
empty (it does have a few particles in it and it
does have some radiation) it is, in fact, pretty
empty by our standards here on Earth. So in a
manner of speaking, space has no temperature at
What is more relevant in space is how
easily you gain or lose heat. For example, if
you lose heat very quickly (by emitting infrared
radiation, for example), you will get very cold.
If you absorb heat easily and you're close enough
to the sun, you will absorb a lot of heat from the
sun and be very hot (this is how the earth gets
most of its heat). As I understand it, this is
a much more important effect than the temperature
of that tiny amount of gas that is in space.
A vacuum doesn't have a particular
temperature, however, a body in space, far
away from any star will come to equilibrium
eventually with the background radiation
from the big bang, which is currently about 2.73
Kelvin (very cold indeed).
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