What global warning?

Stephen A. Frye s.frye at VERIZON.NET
Thu Dec 17 22:39:27 MST 2009

You are wrong on both counts.

A thermometer on the dark side would hit about 2.9K  A thermometer on 
the light side - very complex.  The ambient temperature of the space 
fabric is about 2.9 K.  In order for anything to have a temperature 
of 250 F (plus or minus), it must have mass, and it must be able to 
absorb radiation.  There is no mass in space (short of the negligible 
hydrogen plasma), hence it cannot absorb radiation, hence it has NO 
heat.  Now we complicate it by placing a man in a space suit 
there.  Also assuming the lighted side of the planet.  Interesting 
physics immediately go to work here.  The human body is an excellent 
absorber of radiation, and en excellent re-emitter.  The human body 
is extremely efficient (which is why it is so easy to gain weight and 
hard to lose it).  In the space suit, the problem actually becomes 
how to exhaust the heat fast enough so that the human body doesn't 
overheat and die!  In a space suit this can happen in minutes.  Note 
here - it's the HEAT that becomes the problem.  However, just away 
from the space suit, the fabric of space is ..... about 2.9 
K.  Again, it can't be more.  There is nothing there to absorb the radiation!

Now, if the space suit were rapidly torn away - that becomes eve more 
complex.  No, the blood won;t boil, and the body won't 
explode.  However, the vacuum of space will immediately evacuate the 
lungs, and the huge difference in concentrations will cause the blood 
to shed all of its oxygen in a mere few seconds.  The spaceman will 
die of hypoxia (sp) (lack of oxygen to the brain.  But during the 
death, there's all of the frost that will form, and all sorts of 
other unpleasant things.

So, a body (even the thermometer you mention - in space will absorb 
some radiation from the sun (or other star), and thus register s 
temperature.  But the temperature of the fabric of space itself 
hovers right at the 2.9 K point (due to the hydrogen plasma present 
in obscurely minute quantities).  But in the absence of mass, there 
can be no absorbance of radiation, hence there can be NO 
temperature.  It's almost like much of the quantum phenomenon:  when 
you try to measure it, you actually disturb it, so your measurement 
is immediately inaccurate.  Same with your thermometer.  Your 
thermometer  has mass, so it absorbs radiation, so it measure the 
temperature of itself, not of the space around it.

When you type this stuff into BING or whatever to do an internet 
search, read further than just the first article, and look deeper 
than just the first paragraph.  That little bit can be very misleading.

Rather than one or two quick internet hits, I suggest "The Fabric of 
the Cosmos" by Brian Greene.

At 03:46 PM 12/17/2009, you wrote:
>Stephen A. Frye wrote:
>>>Uh, you might want to rethink that.  Our spacecraft endure some 
>>>massive temperature changes, but we don't even get anywhere near 
>>>"within a few kelvins of absolute zero."
>>They certainly do.  Just what do you think the temperature in space is?
>>Heat is energy.  By Einstein's E=MC^2, energy is equivalent to mass.
>>Space is totally massless, hence it is without energy, hence there 
>>can be no heat.  The fact that photons carry radiated energy (or 
>>are pure energy, we'd have to get into the quantum world to really 
>>discuss that), this partially accounts for the minuscule rise above 
>>absolute zero - that and the background radiation - now in the 
>>microwave range.  Also, at space station orbit, there are remnants 
>>of atmosphere which can absorb and re-emit energy, but again, at a 
>>minuscule level - likely just above the quantum level.  An 
>>over-simplification, but quite pertinent, is the homogeneity of 
>>space (granted, on a cosmic level, but still applicable) the 
>>temperature is pretty darned constant.  The actual glitches in that 
>>homogeneity are at the galactic level.
>You should cut your losses.
>"A thermometer on the sunny side would reach something like 250 
>degrees F (121 C), while a thermometer on the dark side would plunge 
>to something like minus 250 degrees F (-157 C)."
>Now, WikiAnswers is probably not authoritative, but it's probably in 
>the ballpark. 
>Googling all kinds of alternatives gives you all kinds of this 
>stuff. Ballpark, but nowhere near absolute zero.  Either you think 
>we're all stupid, or you are if you really believe that.
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Stephen A. Frye
s.frye at verizon.net 

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