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   Question

Which is the lowest temperature known in nature (not in laboratory)?

Asked by: Begoņa

Answer

At Vostok, a Russian Antarctic Station, the temperature of -89.4 C (-129 F) was recorded on July 21, 1983. It was measured under the proper meteorological conditions.

Reference: Global Extremes by NOAA


Answered by: James Kriz, Biology Undergrad, Wayne State College, Wayne, NE



The lowest POSSIBLE temperature is absolute zero, which defines 0 degrees Kelvin (-273.15 degrees C. or -459.67 degrees F.) If by 'nature' you mean ANYWHERE outside a laboratory, intergalactic space would probably offer the lowest temperatures in the known Universe.

Temperature measures the average kinetic energy of any object's molecules or atoms. Since by definition it contains no matter, the vacuum of space itself has NO temperature. Atoms, molecules, and dust particles floating in in, however, would reach an equilibrium temperature with the cosmic background radiation left over from the Big Bang. That has been measured at a low of 2.724 K (-270.426 degrees C. or -454.767 degrees F.)

Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A., Part-time Physics Instructor


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