MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: Which is hotter the sun or lightening?

Area: Earth Sciences
Posted By: clay harris, faculty,Middle Tennessee State University
Date: Wed Aug 20 12:10:00 1997
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 871593776.Es

MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Subject: Which is hotter the sun or lightening?

Message ID Number: 871593776.Es


It is not surprising that you've had some problems finding the answer to this question.

You have probably learned that the air heated by lightning can reach a temperature of 54000 degrees Fahrenheit. Or at least something close to this.

On the other hand, the temperature of the sun is not quite so simple. The sun has four regions or layers and you may be finding temperatures for several of them.

The temperature within the central region of the sun may reach 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. So it is much hotter than lightning. Likewise, the Sun's atmosphere, consisting of the chronosphere and corona, is also hotter than lightning. The chronosphere's temperature may reach 40 thousand degrees Fahrenheit; the corona exceeds 3 million degrees Fahrenheit.

It is often said that lightning is 5 times hotter than the sun -- what this refers to is the top of the photosphere, often called the surface of the sun. The temperature there reaches almost 10 thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

So, lightning is 5 times hotter than the SURFACE of the sun.

However, this surface is not solid like the earth's surface, rather it is gaseous just like the Sun's atmosphere, only denser.

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