Can you Imagine the Coldest Place in Solar System?

Space is extremely cold i.e. temperature of space is very low. Outer space has a baseline temperature of 2.7 kelvins — minus 454.81 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 270.45 degrees Celsius — which means it is just above absolute zero, the point at which molecular motion ceases. However, this temperature does not remain constant throughout the solar system. Because there is (practically) nothing to absorb the energy from the sun, so-called “empty” space — though it is not actually empty — is far colder than planets, moons, or asteroids, for example. What is the coldest place in the solar system, excluding regular “empty” space? And how does it compare to Earth’s temperatures?

Can you Imagine the Coldest Place in Solar System?

Let us first consider how cosmic temperatures are calculated. Temperatures can be measured by observing the intensity of infrared and microwave radiation emitted from surfaces. Temperatures can be estimated based on the amount of sunlight they receive in the absence of such measurements. Taking cosmic measurements, on the other hand, isn’t always easy. Nothing is ever straightforward in astronomy, mainly because you are always observing, rather than interacting. So, while there are accurate methods for measuring temperatures in space, there will always be room for improvement. “Temperatures are estimates,” according to astronomers. The numbers you calculate are determined by how good your assumptions are and how detailed the physical model you use. So, given those considerations, where is the coldest place in the solar system, according to current data? Perhaps Pluto, given its distance from the sun?

In fact, the coldest location could be much closer to home. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a NASA robotic spacecraft designed to help scientists better understand lunar conditions, presented data in 2009 indicating that “shadowed craters” at the lunar south pole may be the coldest place in the solar system. Graduate student Patrick O’Brien and his adviser Shane Byrne, later confirmed this theory. O’Brien and Byrne proposed that “doubly shadowed” moon craters could indeed be “the coldest place in the solar system” during a talk at the 2022 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.

Can you Imagine the Coldest Place in Solar System?

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A crater is considered doubly shadowed if it is shielded not only from direct solar illumination but also from secondary heating sources, such as solar radiation reflected off nearby illuminated areas as well as thermal radiation emitted from those warm surfaces. Pollacco went on to say that “doubly shadowed” craters “have high enough rims that sunlight never reaches the crater floor,” explaining why they are so cold. Given that these “permanently shadowed regions” have been “shielded” from solar illumination for billions of years, O’Brien and Byrne’s research suggests that their craters may contain “micro-cold traps” containing “not only water ice, but also more volatile compounds and elements,” such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, di-nitrogen, and argon.

According to researchers, the temperatures in these craters are estimated to be around 25 kelvins (minus 414.67 F, or minus 248.15 C), but they could be colder. Crawford is confident in the research’s veracity. According to NASA, the average surface temperature of Pluto is 40.4 kelvins, which is minus 386.95 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 232.75 degrees Celsius. According to Crawford, these doubly shadowed moon craters may not be as cold as the Oort cloud, a shell of icy space debris located far beyond Neptune’s orbit. He noted that the distinction is dependent on whether we include the Oort cloud when discussing the solar system.

Can you Imagine the Coldest Place in Solar System?

NASA considers the Oort cloud to be both the “most distant region of our solar system” and “beyond” our solar system. Because of this ambiguity, it is sometimes regarded as a component of the solar system and at other times as the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space. However, according to other studies, the Oort cloud is only “loosely bound to the solar system.” Temperatures in the Oort cloud could be as cold as 5 kelvins (minus 450.67 F or minus 268.15 C), according to Northwestern University in Illinois, far colder than any temperature found on our moon. If we exclude the Oort cloud, the coldest place in the solar system is almost certainly on our nearest celestial neighbor.

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Even the coldest, harshest Antarctic temperatures are far warmer than the moon’s craters or the Oort cloud. According to the World Meteorological Organization’s World Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, the coldest terrestrial temperature ever recorded was minus 128.6 F (minus 89.2 C) on July 21, 1983, at Russia’s Vostok research station in Antarctica. Scientists have created temperatures that are lower than those found naturally on Earth, in moon craters, or even in the Oort cloud. Last year, a group of German scientists set a new record for the coldest temperature ever reached in a laboratory: minus 459.67 F (minus 273.15 C), which they achieved by “dropping magnetized gas 393 feet (120 meters) down a tower.” However, when it comes to natural temperatures, the darkest, most shadowy recesses of our moon appear to have the lowest temperature in our solar system — depending on how you classify the Oort cloud.

Pluto had the distinction of being both the outermost planet and the coldest known place until recently. It is now neither, having been demoted from planet status in 2006 and losing its frosty reputation to somewhere much closer to home: the Moon, in September 2009. The temperature inside a crater at the Moon’s South Pole, where the Sun has never shone, was -240°C, according to NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. That’s 20°C colder than Pluto’s surface.

Quick facts about solar system and Earth

Coldest star in the universe: A star discovered 75 light-years away is no warmer than a freshly brewed cup of coffee, according to a new study. The star, known as CFBDSIR 1458 10b, is a brown dwarf.

Coldest planet in the solar system: Uranus is the coldest planet in our solar system on record, despite being closer to the Sun and ‘only’ about 20 times farther away than Earth. The coldest temperature ever recorded there was -224 degrees Celsius.

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow Your Mind

Minimum temperature on earth: The lowest natural temperature ever directly measured at ground level on Earth is – 89.2 °C ( -128.6 °F; 184.0 K) on 21 July 1983 at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica by ground measurements.

Coldest element in the universe: At minus 400 degrees Celsius, liquid hydrogen is the coldest substance known to man. A Bose–Einstein condensate (BEC) is a state of matter consisting of bosons confined in an external potential and cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero (0 K, 273.15 °C, or 459 °F).

Coldest ocean in the world: The Arctic Ocean is the world’s coldest ocean. It is primarily a polar climate ocean that remains cold all year. The ocean receives the most visitors during the summer, when the temperature rises to around 0 degrees Celsius. The surface temperature of the water in the Arctic Ocean is also very low. Throughout the year, it averages -1.8 degrees Celsius. This area is extremely difficult to navigate, and ships that venture here must be icebreakers. Submarines can also be seen in this area.

Coldest place on earth: Eastern Antarctic Plateau, Antarctica (-94°C), Vostok Station Antarctica (-89.2°C), Amundsen-Scott Station, Antarctica (-82.8°C), Denali, Alaska, United States of America (-73°C), Klinck station, Greenland (-69.6°C), Oymyakon, Siberia, Russia (-67.7°C), Yakutsk, Siberia, Russia (-64.4°C) and Snag, Yukon Territory, Canada (-62.8°C) are among the top coldest places in the world.

Coldest gas on earth: The boiling point of liquid helium is -452 degrees Fahrenheit below zero, making it the coldest material known. It is also the only material on the planet that does not exist as a solid, but only as a cryogenic liquid and a gas.

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