Why is the “space” between the sun and earth cold?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by bigtalker, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. bigtalker
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    bigtalker Member

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    This may be an elementary question but I cannot find a straight answer out there. Yes, I am seriously asking – no tricks.
    How does the suns heat transfer to earth while the space it transfers through is colder than the surface of earth?

    Danke und Tschüß!
     
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  2. Ravi
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    Ravi Diamond Member

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  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Heat or cold is a property of matter. If the atoms are within the matter are moving fast, it is hot. If moving very slow, the matter is cold. Space is a vacuum, nothing. A vacuum or nothing, cannot have the property of being either hot or cold.
     
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  4. goldcatt
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    goldcatt Catch me if you can! Supporting Member

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    ^^^This.

    The sun's energy moves through space, but if there's no matter for it to be transferred to energy itself has no temperature.

    Space isn't a total vacuum, but it's close enough that the sun's energy can't really "heat it up" the way it does, say, the Earth's atmosphere. In other words it's not about the sun, it's about what its energy is or isn't hitting.
     
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  5. bigtalker
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    bigtalker Member

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    awesome! - thank you everyone for helping me understand
    güten tag!
     
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  6. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    Space is not a vacuum. If it were a vacuum the Sun would have no affect on the temperature of the Earth. Since we both know that the Sun does indeed affect the Earth's temperature, I am sure we can also agree that you are completely ignorant about basic physics.
     
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  7. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    You are clo9ser to the truth than Old Rocks, but I will be nicer to you because you do not claim any expertise in science.

    The temperature of space between the Earth and the Sun is warmer that the space between Mars and the Sun. The reason the Earth is warmer than the space surrounding it is because the Earth is denser, and has a layer that serves as a blanket to insulate it from the colder space. Additionally, the Earth is warmed internally, which has a small, but significant, effect on the temperature.

    The very fact that heat moves through space at all proves it is not a vacuum, because a perfect vacuum would be perfect insulation.
     
  8. goldcatt
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    goldcatt Catch me if you can! Supporting Member

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    I think you're maybe getting a little far afield for the audience when you start interjecting planetary heat flux distribution and thermal process in a general question like the OP. Just sayin'. ;)
     
  9. Dante
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    Dante On leave Supporting Member

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    lives up to the name of Windbagh.?:eusa_whistle:
     
  10. goldcatt
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    goldcatt Catch me if you can! Supporting Member

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    I'll be generous and say "pays attention to every little detail". I'm in that kind of mood today. ;)
     

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