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Author Topic: Why is it that the sun warms us on Earth while it remains cold above us?  (Read 5081 times)

Aaron Hurwitz

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Aaron Hurwitz  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Hi Dr. Chris and crew,

Love your show.

Why is it that the sun warms us on Earth while it remains cold above us, despite 'above us' being closer to the sun?  I assume that right around the sun it is indeed hot.  At what point does it become freezing cold?

Also, was Mt. Everest always the world's tallest mountain?  Is it still growing?  If yes, by how much every year?  Is it's growth rate been steady over thousands of years?

Thanks,

Aaron Hurwitz
Jerusalem, Israel

What do you think?


 

Offline Don_1

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By 'above us' I assume you mean in the space between Earth and the Sun, ie outside our atmosphere, in which case, the reason is because there is nothing to heat outside our atmosphere.

In answer to your second question, no, Everest has not always been our tallest mountain. In fact it isn't our tallest mountain now. There are sub oceanic mountains taller. Everest is our highest mountain though and yes, it is getting higher. The rate of growth will change from day to day, week to week, year to year etc. One day it will begin to erode faster than it is being pushed up, if it indeed continues to be pushed up.

Perhaps in a few million years it will be no bigger than an ant hill. That's the day I'd climb Everest and not before.
 

Offline latebind

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The earths atmosphere traps the heat.
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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We are a cloud of mass, in a void of space just within a remarkably unique distance from an irradiating body. Radiation is by definition, massless, as so are the least of the particles predicted by the standard model. Energy, according to the translation of quantum mechanics, is when particles reach high velocity in quite a large collection. The result is simply that the material they compilate begins to get hotter.

If something gets really hot where molecules move at high speeds relative to the other ''brother'' particles which make an object, it may glow due to a certain heat density. We find that atoms can ''vibrate'' when thermal energy is received from an outside source - in effect, the system becomes more operative towards thermal decay in the form of electromagnetic radiation.

Since radiation has a frequency and a wavelength means it can quantum mechanically-couple to ordinary mass (the kind of mass that makes the earth like a ball of gas. In fact we are not unique in this sense, because many of the planets in our solar system are giant gas balls which are more efficient at trapping photon energy, than let's say our thin breathing air.

As you progressively reach spacetime from airspace, the atmosphere literally becomes less compactified by radiation (heat). Since the air pressure decreases as you move higher up means that the air that is rising is in fact expanding. It is said that temperature of the scale of three degrees fahrenheit is accounted for every ascent or decent within airspace. 
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

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Energy, according to the translation of quantum mechanics, is when particles reach high velocity in quite a large collection. The result is simply that the material they compilate begins to get hotter.

What? So low velocity particles in a small collection don't have energy then?

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It is said that temperature of the scale of three degrees fahrenheit is accounted for every ascent or decent within airspace. 
Every ascent or decent of how far?

Try to remember the motto of The Naked Scientists is "stripping down science", which means trying to present scientific information in a way that can be easily digested. The question asked needs no answer that involves quantum mechanics. Your post was hard enough for me to decipher, and I like to think i'm rather scientifically literate.
 

Offline Mr. Scientist

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All due respect, but if it is not allowed a quantum physical description (which isn't hard to involve when talking about subjects like radiation, then it shouldn't be in the quantum physics and cosmology section. It should be in general sciences, if anyone protests.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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quote author=Mr. Scientist link=topic=26446.msg281315#msg281315 date=1256988543]
if it is not allowed a quantum physical description (which isn't hard to involve when talking about subjects like radiation, then it shouldn't be in the quantum physics and cosmology section. 
[/quote]

It isn't.
 

Offline thedoc

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Mr.american scientist

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« Reply #8 on: 26/12/2009 06:10:34 »
It's really nice answer to the question but very tricky or confusing though.
 

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« Reply #8 on: 26/12/2009 06:10:34 »

 

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