<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=iA1Pi1a8Dy00ym" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="" />
Skip Navigation

Temperature of the Atmosphere

The different layers of the atmosphere are separated by their different temperature gradients; warm air rises and cool air sinks.

Atoms Practice
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Temperature of the Atmosphere
Estimated4 minsto complete
Practice Now
Absolute Zero

Absolute Zero


The coldest natural temperature in the known universe is the Boomerang Nebula. Even that temperature is not at 0oK.

Why It Matters

  • The world record for the coldest temperature in a lab is 0.0000000001oK.
  • The coldest known temperatures in the universe are in laboratories on Earth.
  • The thermodynamic temperature scale measures the kinetic energy in a material.
  • The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that is impossible to know the momentum and exact position of a particle at the same time.
  • It’s impossible for a substance to reach true absolute zero.
  • Super cold substances have unusual properties that are very useful.
  • NASA plans to create the coldest place in existence on the International Space Station in 2016


Explore More

With the link below, learn more about absolute zero. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is heat?
  2. What happens if the molecules in a substance no longer move at all?
  3. What happened when Lord Kelvin drained all of the kinetic energy from many different substances? What did he call this?
  4. What does it mean that some substances become superconductive at temperatures below 30oK?
  5. Why won’t we ever get a substance down to absolute zero in the lab?

Image Attributions

Explore More

Sign in to explore more, including practice questions and solutions for Temperature of the Atmosphere.


Please wait...
Please wait...

Original text