Change in TemperatureWhen we go upwards or towards mountains or in space, the temperature decreases. Why is it ,although we are getting closer to the sun?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In addition to these responses, I would add that the air feels thinnner at higher altitudes.  Thicker air is warmer and moister.  The higher up you go, the colder and thinner the air seems to be.  You are not really getting closer to the sun, you are getting farther from the ground. :)

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Post 2 explains why it doesn't get hotter, but does not really explain why it does get colder.  The reason it gets colder as we go up is because of a decline in air pressure.  With less air pressure, the molecules in the air are moving less quickly.  This is the same thing as saying that the temperature is lower.

pacorz's profile pic

pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

It's because the movements you are asking about are such a small fraction of the distance from the Earth to the Sun that it doesn't make much difference, and the difference it does make is totally overwhelmed by local effects.

The Earth's atmosphere is an excellent insulator, and sunlight that falls on the planet is kept in by it. Because we have an atmosphere, our planet avoids the huge temperature swings experienced by other planets in our solar system.

Space itself is very cold, because the Sun's radiation passes right through and is not absorbed or retained in any way. However, if you got truly close to the Sun, you would be bombarded by so much radiation that you would indeed get very hot, at least on the side of you (or of your spaceship) that was facing toward the Sun.

irha-nadeem's profile pic

irha-nadeem | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

It's because the movements you are asking about are such a small fraction of the distance from the Earth to the Sun that it doesn't make much difference, and the difference it does make is totally overwhelmed by local effects.

The Earth's atmosphere is an excellent insulator, and sunlight that falls on the planet is kept in by it. Because we have an atmosphere, our planet avoids the huge temperature swings experienced by other planets in our solar system.

Space itself is very cold, because the Sun's radiation passes right through and is not absorbed or retained in any way. However, if you got truly close to the Sun, you would be bombarded by so much radiation that you would indeed get very hot, at least on the side of you (or of your spaceship) that was facing toward the Sun.

Thanks for help.

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