BBC – Future – Science & Environment – Infographic: Absolute zero to ‘absolute hot’

BBC – Future – Science & Environment – Infographic: Absolute zero to ‘absolute hot’.

The infographic at this link is worth checking out.  A few observations:

  • The temperatures are all in Celsius.
  • Calling the Boomerang nebula the “coldest place in the universe” has always seemed a bit presumptuous to me.  Still, the nebula is colder than the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (about -270C) making the nebula colder than intergalactic voids.
  • Tardigrades are a bit scary.
  • Toward the bottom, the temperature increases are in orders of magnitude.
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4 Responses to BBC – Future – Science & Environment – Infographic: Absolute zero to ‘absolute hot’

  1. amanimal says:

    Tardigrades! Wow!

    *Extremophile* doesn’t really seem do them justice – they deserve a classification that denotes their Über-Extremophile capabilities.

    A bit scary indeed as they pierce and suck out the juicy insides of the “plant cells, algae, or small invertebrates”(Wikipage) they consume. They’d likely enjoy vertebrates too if they were just a little bigger.

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    • Agreed. It’s interesting to contemplate what conditions they might have evolved under. How does a creature obtain that range of temperature tolerances and variances in humidity?

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      • amanimal says:

        Some confusion here …

        “While in a state of cryptobiosis organisms are able to resist environmental extremes that would be instantly lethal to the animal if in the active state.”

        http://sun.iwu.edu/~tardisdp/tardigrade_facts.html

        “While tardigrades can survive in extreme environments, they are not considered extremophiles because they are not adapted to live in these conditions. Their chances of dying increase the longer they are exposed to the extreme environment.”

        http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/tardigrade/index.html

        Even though I couldn’t find a 2nd reference in support of that and they are referred to as extremophiles all over the web, I have to agree. The definition of an extremophile speaks of *thriving* in extreme conditions and the cryptobiotic state doesn’t qualify in my mind. It seems about as close to dead as an organism can get and not be.

        So, while maybe not quite as impressive, that’s still incredibly resilient.

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        • Interesting. Thanks. It’s still pretty amazing that they can be brought down to less than 1 degree Kelvin and bounce back from that. We’re talking about almost absolute zero, a temperature where both hydrogen, oxygen, and even helium are a solid. I’m sure being able to squeeze all the water out is a big factor.

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