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A lower bound to temperature is absolute zero, defined as 0 K on the Kelvin scale, an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale. This corresponds to −273.15 °C on the Celsius scale, −459.67 °F on the Fahrenheit scale, and 0 °R on the Rankine scale.
Since temperature relates to the thermal energy held by an object or a sample of matter, which is the kinetic energy of the random motion of the particle constituents of matter, an object will have less thermal energy when it is colder and more when it is hotter. If it were possible to cool a system to absolute zero, all motion of the particles in a sample of matter would cease and they would be at complete rest in this classical sense. The object would be described as having zero thermal energy. Microscopically in the description of quantum mechanics, however, matter still has zero-point energy even at absolute zero, because of the uncertainty principle.
Cooling refers to the process of becoming cold, or lowering in temperature. This could be accomplished by removing heat from a system, or exposing the system to an environment with a lower temperature.
Air cooling is the process of cooling an object by exposing it to air. This will only work if the air is at a lower temperature than the object, and the process can be enhanced by increasing the surface area or decreasing the mass of the object.
Another common method of cooling is exposing an object to ice, dry ice, or liquid nitrogen. This works by convection; the heat is transferred from the relatively warm object to the relatively cold coolant.
Cold has numerous physiological and pathological effects on the human body, as well as on other organisms. Cold environments may promote certain psychological traits, as well as having direct effects on the ability to move. Coordination is one of the first abilities to be affected. Extreme cold temperatures may lead to frostbite as well as hypothermia, which in turn may result in death.
Notable cold locations and objects
- The coldest known temperature ever achieved is a state of matter called the Bose–Einstein condensate which was first theorized to exist by Satyendra Nath Bose in 1924 and first created by Eric Cornell, Carl Wieman, and co-workers at JILA on June 5, 1995. They did this by cooling a dilute vapor consisting of approximately two thousand rubidium-87 atoms to below 170 nK (one nK or nano K is a billionth (10-9) of a Kelvin) using a combination of laser cooling (a technique that won its inventors Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, and William D. Phillips the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics) and magnetic evaporative cooling.
- The Boomerang Nebula is the coldest known natural location in the universe, with a temperature that is estimated at 1 K (−272.15 °C/−457.87 °F).
- The Planck spacecraft's instruments are kept at 0.1 K (−273.05 °C/−459.49 °F) via passive and active cooling.
- Absent any other source of heat, the temperature of the Universe is roughly 2.725 kelvin, due to the Cosmic microwave background radiation, a remnant of the Big Bang.
- Neptune's moon Triton has a surface temperature of −235 °C (−390 °F).
- Uranus with a black-body temperature of 58.2 K (-215.0 °C, -354.9 °F).
- Saturn with a black-body temperature of 81.1 K (-192.0 °C, -313.7 °F).
- Mercury, despite being close to the Sun, is actually cold during its night, with a temperature of about −170 °C (−275 °F). Mercury is cold during its night because it has no atmosphere to trap in heat from the Sun.
- Jupiter with a black-body temperature of 110.0 K (-163.2 °C, -261.67 °F).
- Mars with a black-body temperature of 210.1 K (-63.05 °C, -81.49 °F).
- The coldest continent on Earth is Antarctica. The coldest place on Earth is the Antarctic Plateau, an area of Antarctica around the South Pole that has an altitude of around 3,000 metres (9,800 ft). The lowest reliably measured temperature on Earth of 183.9 K (-89.2 °C, -128.6 °F) was recorded there at Vostok Station on 21 July 1983 (See List of weather records).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cold.|
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- "Boomerang Nebula boasts the coolest spot in the Universe". NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. June 20, 1997. Retrieved July 8, 2009.
- Staff (July 7, 2009). "Coldest Known Object in Space Is Very Unnatural". Space.com. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
- Hinshaw, Gary (December 15, 2005). "Tests of the Big Bang: The CMB". NASA WMAP. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- Uranus Fact Sheet
- Saturn Fact Sheet
- http://www.nasa.gov/worldbook/mercury_worldbook.html[dead link]
- Jupiter Fact Sheet
- Mars Fact Sheet
- Melting Ice in Antarctica : Image of the Day
- Bignell, Paul (2007-01-21). "Polar explorers reach coldest place on Earth". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-04-30.
- Budretsky, A.B. (1984). "New absolute minimum of air temperature". Bulletin of the Soviet Antarctic Expedition (in Russian) (Leningrad: Gidrometeoizdat) (105).