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Name: emilio vargas iii
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Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
I'm a 6th grade science teacher and my students want to know how scientists are able to determine the temperature of the sun's surface and it's core. Also the temps of the other planets in our solar system, especially Pluto.


Replies:
The temperature of the surface of the Sun can be determined in various ways. We know how much energy we receive on Earth per unit time over a unit area facing the Sun. Then knowing the distance to the Sun, we can estimate total energy being emitted by the Sun. The total energy emitted per unit time per unit area is related to temperature in a known way. This can be used to find the Surface temperature of the Sun.

Sun is a gaseous sphere and it seems to be a stable object. Our existence tells us about the stability of the Sun. We think that gravity holds the Sun together. In that case the gas pressure must be enough to balance the gravitational force. We know the relation between gas pressure and temperature, this is then used to calculate the core temperature. This is the simplest method i know of, other methods take into account some other effects as well but answers don't change much. Temperature of Planets is measured in a slightly more complicated way Known properties of reflected light are used to probe the reflecting material, here the Planets' atmosphere.

Jasjeet



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