Science

What Sets A Planet's Temperature?

The exoplanet Corot-7b has a mass five times that of Earth's and is the closest known exoplanet to its host star. The probable temperature on its "day-face" is above 2,000 degrees, but minus 200 degrees on its night face. This artist's impression of the planet comes from the European Southern Observatory and shows how it may look like if it were covered by lava. i i

The exoplanet Corot-7b has a mass five times that of Earth's and is the closest known exoplanet to its host star. The probable temperature on its "day-face" is above 2,000 degrees, but minus 200 degrees on its night face. This artist's impression of the planet comes from the European Southern Observatory and shows how it may look like if it were covered by lava. L. Calcada/ESO hide caption

itoggle caption L. Calcada/ESO
The exoplanet Corot-7b has a mass five times that of Earth's and is the closest known exoplanet to its host star. The probable temperature on its "day-face" is above 2,000 degrees, but minus 200 degrees on its night face. This artist's impression of the planet comes from the European Southern Observatory and shows how it may look like if it were covered by lava.

The exoplanet Corot-7b has a mass five times that of Earth's and is the closest known exoplanet to its host star. The probable temperature on its "day-face" is above 2,000 degrees, but minus 200 degrees on its night face. This artist's impression of the planet comes from the European Southern Observatory and shows how it may look like if it were covered by lava.

L. Calcada/ESO

As I have written in other posts, get past all the political nastiness and you will find the science of climate change is based on some lovely and simple principles associated with how objects (like a planet) absorb and re-radiate energy.

While preparing for class today, here is a nice interactive developed by Glenn Simonelli which lets you play with the basic idea.

Enjoy!

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