Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hottest temperature on Earth is hotter than the sun

The record for the hottest temperature on Earth has been set by scientists working with the largest X-ray generator in the world known as the Z machine. They have created superheated gas with temperatures exceeding 3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit. That's hotter than the Sun's interior. The best part is that they have no idea how they did it. From LiveScience.com:
Sandia researchers still aren’t sure how the machine achieved the new record. Part of it is probably due to the replacement of the tungsten steel wires with slightly thicker steel wires, which allow the plasma ions to travel faster and thus achieve higher temperatures.

One thing that puzzles scientists is that the high temperature was achieved after the plasma’s ions should have been losing energy and cooling. Also, when the high temperature was achieved, the Z machine was releasing more energy than was originally put in, something that usually occurs only in nuclear reactions.

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