Why do temperatures on the moon vary so much?
MY SCIENCE PACKET DOES NOT INCLUDE THIS INFO.
- pkababaLv 41 decade agoFavorite Answer
Earth and Moon are the same distance from the Sun, within 1/4% accuracy, and have the same amount of sunlight falling on them, but the Moon reflects only about 10% of the sunlight that it receives, and absorbs about 90% of it, while the Earth, because of its extensive cloud cover, reflects about 30% of the sunlight that it receives, and absorbs only about 70%. The values for the Moon vary because the highlands are lighter, and reflect more light, and the maria are darker, and reflect less light, and the values for the Earth vary according to the local weather topography, but these average values are adequate for a general comparison. As a result of the difference in absorption, the Earth only receives about 2/3 as much sunlight during the day as the Moon does, and the Moon becomes much hotter, reaching temperatures in excess of 250°F, which is over 150F° hotter than normal Earth temperatures.
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- computerguy103Lv 61 decade ago
There is no water. Water help to slow the changes in temperature; it acts like a heat buffer, since it takes a long time to heat up or cool down. The temperature in deserts on earth varies widely for the same reason.
The atmosphere of the earth also plays a similar role in keeping the temperature from going to the extremes.
- DavidK93Lv 71 decade ago
It is due to a lack of water or an atmosphere, as well as the Moon's slow rotation. On Earth, we have a huge amount of water. Water is slow to heat and slow to cool, so it helps maintain relatively constant temperatures, especially near large bodies of water. The atmosphere also absorbs a lot of heat, and it circulates rapidly around the planet, helping to distribute heat evenly. Also, the Earth rotates every 24 hours, bringing each point towards and away from the Sun in that time.
The Moon lacks water or an atmosphere to regulate temperature as happens on Earth. In addition, the Moon takes 29.5 days to rotate, meaning that the night side has a good two weeks to radiate away all of the heat it absorbs during the two weeks of unfiltered daylight. All of this contributes to the greater range of temperature extremes on the Moon.
- campbelp2002Lv 71 decade ago
Yup, no atmosphere. In the day time sunlight heats up the surface, like a hot car hood on a summer day. At night, the heat quickly radiates back into space resulting in the surfaces getting very cold, like a cold clear winter night. On Earth, the air and water vapor and clouds tend to insulate us, keeping the days cooler and the nights warmer than they would otherwise be.
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- 1 decade ago
There is no atmosphere