93

Firstly, Mars has a mean distance from the Sun of 1.524 AU, so by the inverse square law the energy it gets from the Sun is about 40% of what the Earth gets. But the main reason that Mars is so cold is that its atmosphere is very thin compared to Earth's (as well as very dry, see below). From Wikipedia Atmosphere of Mars: The atmosphere of Mars is much ...


87

It depends on where in outer space you are. If you simply stick it in orbit around the Earth, it'll sublimate: the mean surface temperature of something at Earth's distance from the Sun is about 220K, which is solidly in the vapor phase for water in a vacuum, and the solid-vapor transition at that temperature doesn't pass through the liquid phase. On the ...


37

I think that your thought process is flawed in that you assume that by drastically increasing the temperature you are guaranteed to get heavy elements. As odd as this may sound, this isn't the case (especially during the Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN)) for a few reasons. In fact, if you took a hydrogen-only star and made it go supernova, you wouldn't get ...


27

I'm just going to expand and deepen on what the other answers already said. In the following I contrast the atmospheric transmission ($T$) and absorption ($A$, which is $A=1-T$) of Mars and Earth. The Mars plot (top) is from Prof. J. Irwin via this review by P. Read et al. 2015 and the terrestrial data (bottom) is from wikipedia. The plots of $A$ and $1-T$...


23

You can stick a thermometer in space, and if it is a super-high-tech one, it might show you the temperature of the gas. But since the interstellar medium (ISM) is so dilute, a normal thermometer will radiate energy away faster than it can absorb it, and thus it won't reach thermal equilibrium with the gas. It won't cool all the way to 0 K, though, since the ...


18

Yes, metals and other elements and molecules can exist in gaseous form under the right conditions of temperature and pressure. A "gas" is simply one of the fundamental states of matter, as in solid, liquid, or gas (and a few other states outside the scope of this question). But as a gas, these substances exist entirely as either individual atoms, individual ...


17

The answer depends on what you'd want to consider as a "star." If you're just thinking about stars on the main sequence, then you can just refer to the classical stellar type letters, "OBAFGKM" (which has relatively recently been extended to accommodate the coolest brown dwarfs with the letters "LTY"), where O-stars are the hottest stars (~30,000 K) and Y-...


16

Mars does have a greenhouse effect, only somewhat weaker than Earth's. Mars' atmosphere is very dilute, with a with a surface pressure only 0.6% of Earth's. So even if 95% of it is CO2, that's not a lot. However, it is actually a higher absolute abundance of CO2 molecules than on Earth, which only has a CO2 abundance of 0.04% (by volume; e.g. NOAA, ...


13

Hydrodynamic models of the Sun allow one method of estimating its internal properties. To do this, the Mass, radius, surface temperature, and total luminosity (radiative energy emitted)/s of the Sun must be known (determined observationally). Making several assumptions, e.g., that the Sun behaves as a fluid and that local thermodynamic equilibrium applies, ...


12

It would sublimate. The frozen mass of water would decrease in size as the water converts from a solid to a gas (without becoming a liquid) and drifts away.


9

Yes, there is a limit. If the radiation pressure gradient exceeds the local density multiplied by the local gravity, then no equilibrium is possible. Radiation pressure depends on the fourth power of temperature. Radiation pressure gradient therefore depends on the third power of temperature multiplied by the temperature gradient. Hence for stability $$ T^...


9

The title of the question asks about interstellar space, but the body asks about the interstellar medium. These are two very different questions. The temperature of the interstellar medium varies widely, from a few kelvins to over ten million kelvins. By all accounts, the vast majority of the interstellar medium is at least "warm", where "warm" means several ...


9

Let $n$, $T$, and $x_i$ be the number density of hydrogen, the temperature of the gas, and $n_i/n$, where $n_i$ is the number density of the $i$th component of the interstellar medium. We can then write the criteria for thermal equilibrium as $$n^2\Lambda(n,T,x_i)-n\Gamma(n,T,x_i)\equiv n^2\mathcal{L}=0$$ where $\Lambda$ and $\Gamma$ and the heating and ...


8

The answer to your first question has to do with luminosity. It's a measure of power, the energy given off by an object in a certain amount of time, which you can think of as brightness. The more luminous the object, the brighter it appears. We can treat the Sun as an idealized object called a black body, which emits thermal radiation according to something ...


8

An answer to your question is contained within What is the largest hydrogen-burning star? The hottest observed main sequence stars are of type O3V, with photospheric temperatures of about 50,000 K. However, it is indeed possible that hotter main sequence stars may exist in the present-day universe, but have simply evolved into Wolf-Rayet stars (and lost a ...


7

In astronomy, there is no formal definition of the threshold between gas and dust. Gas can be monoatomic, diatomic, or molecular (or made of photons, in principle). Molecules can be very large, and in principle, dust particles are just very large molecules. I've seen various authors use various definitions, ranging from $\sim100$ to $\sim1000$ atoms. This ...


7

No, absolutely not. The core of a core-collapse supernova is one of the hottest places in the present-day universe. The temperature as the star runs out of nuclear fuel in its core is around 6-10 billion Kelvin. As it collapses, the core gets even hotter, perhaps as high as 100 billion Kelvin for a few seconds, before neutrino cooling starts to become ...


7

Without any other information, you cannot distinguish between the two effects. $$ T = T_0 (1 + z) $$ A blackbody spectrum of temperature $T$ is identical to a blackbody spectrum of temperature $T_0$ with redshift $z$. For stellar/galactic radiation, we can use the fact that the radiation is not a perfect blackbody. For the CMB, we can use the fact that ...


6

The heliosphere is mainly defined by the region dominated by solar wind against the interstellar medium. "The solar wind is divided into two components, respectively termed the slow solar wind and the fast solar wind. The slow solar wind has a velocity of about 400 km/s, a temperature of $1.4–1.6×10^6 K$ and a composition that is a close match to the corona....


6

The Boomerang Nebula (or Bow Tie Nebula) is a cloud of gas being expelled from a dying low-mass star, at $164~\mathrm{km}~\mathrm{s}^{-1}$. In general, when a gas expands, it cools (see extended explanation below). If the gas were optically thin to the CMB — that is, if it were sufficiently dilute that CMB photons could easily penetrate — it ...


6

In a white dwarf, the dense matter is not in its lowest energy configuration. Energy can still be extracted from the white dwarf material by fusion, provided it can be ignited. What exothermic nuclear reactions would there be that could take place in a neutron star? The bulk of the material is in the form of neutrons with a small number of protons and ...


6

The slowest reaction rate in the pp chain determines how quickly hydrogen can "burn" in the core of a sun-like star. That rate-determining step is actually the fusion of two protons to form deuterium via the diproton and a weak interaction decay. The fusion of lithium, whereby it fuses with a proton and then splits into two Helium nuclei is actually part of ...


6

I think that there isn't a strict answer to this question. However, I believe the answer is that there's a difference between the core of a hydrogen-burning star and the core of a protostar or star-forming, gas cloud. For a hydrogen-burning star, the core, as you say, is the region of the star where fusion is taking place. This is surrounded by the ...


6

I am not sure what you mean by "thermal" pressure. Jupiter is supported by pressure, just like all objects that are in (approximate) hydrostatic equilibrium. That pressure is provided by your everyday, temperature-dependent Maxwell-Boltzmann ideal gas pressure in the outer parts, but the free electrons in the interior become degenerate and so in these ...


6

It should probably be added that the article includes a glaring error of the type you often see when the science writer apparently did not take an elementary astronomy class (this is why we have such classes!). When the article states that the "lost matter exists as filaments of oxygen gas", you can be sure that Michael Shull never said any such thing, ...


5

It depends on the distance from the central body. This gives the temperature $T$ at a given point as a function of the distance from that point to the center ($R$): $$T(R)=\left[\frac{3GM \dot{M}}{8 \pi \sigma R^3} \left(1-\sqrt{\frac{R_{\text{inner}}}{R}} \right) \right]^{\frac{1}{4}}$$ where $G$, $\pi$, and $\sigma$ are the familiar constants, $M$ is the ...


5

Eventually, yes. Interesting information about Venus: Venus is hotter than Mercury, despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun. Earth, despite being further from the Sun, receives more energy from the Sun than Venus, due to Venus's very high albedo. As you might guess by this information, the major factor that keeps Venus hot isn't how much energy it ...


5

In the vacuum of space the most important consideration is to consider how much radiation an ice cube would absorb from, for example, nearby stars and how fast the ice cube itself would radiate away energy (using Wien's law), finding what ice cube temperature would produce an equilibrium (the temperature at which the ice cube radiate energy at the same rate ...


5

The composition can be determined by taking spectra. Additionally, the mass can be determined through dynamics. If you combine these two, under the assumption that the star is in a state of hydrostatic equilibrium (which means that the outward thermal pressure of the star due to fusion of hydrogen into helium is in balance with the inward tug of gravity), ...


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