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Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.

Is it hot or cold on the Moon?

Temperatures on the Moon are both hotter and colder than those on Earth. In other words, the temperature range is more extreme! If you were camping on the Moon, you could not only heat up beans at local noon, you could boil water to do your dishes with! The temperature on the Moon when the Sun is overhead is just above the boiling point of water (100 degrees Celsius). If you were to spend the night on the Moon (you might as well because it's a long trip home to Earth), you'd have to have a warm sleeping bag, because temperatures reach a low of -173 degrees Celsius.

Since the Moon and the Earth are approximately the same distance from the Sun, they should be the same temperature. It is the Moon's lack of atmosphere that creates such extreme temperatures. The Moon doesn't have an atmosphere to absorb high energy solar radiation like the Earth does, and so the surface is heated by this radiation. The Moon's lack of atmosphere also lets heat escape during lunar nights so that it gets rather chilly on the surface!

Submitted by Sean (Wisconsin, USA)
(August 6,1997)



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