The Coldest Place on Earth

by Fraser Cain on May 24, 2008

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The confirmed coldest temperature on Earth was recorded in Vostok, Antarctica at a brisk -89.2 degrees Celsius (183 Kelvin). There is an unconfirmed report of the temperature reaching -91 degrees Celsius (181 Kelvin); either way you look at it; you are still freezing your butt off.

The high velocity winds at the South Pole don’t make enduring the cold any easier by the dedicated scientists that work there. Winds can reach a velocity of 90 m/s. These temperatures were recorded during the Antarctic winter in June and July, during the period when the sun never actually rises. Even at its balmiest, Vostok only reaches temperatures of around -25 degrees Celsius (248 Kelvin). When we are looking at temperatures that cold, the Kelvin scale helps make the picture look less bleak; no ominous negative sign out front to make you lose all hope of getting warm. Incidentally, the warmest recorded temperature at Vostok was -19 degrees Celsius (254 Kelvin).

Vostok’s elevation is almost 3500 meters above sea level, and due to the density of oxygen being less towards the poles, the scientists are working at an effective height of 5000 meters above sea level.

Why would we journey to such an inviting place you might wonder? Vostok is located 1300 kilometers from the true South Pole, but is very near the Magnetic South Pole. Scientists study actinometry; the measure of solar radiation in photons, geophysics; the study of the physical properties of the Earth, mainly electrical, gravitational and magnetic forces which also includes seismology, and climatology; the study of weather systems.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

frank man December 22, 2008 at 8:20 PM

WOW cold

Peter Johnson January 5, 2009 at 3:13 AM

Reminds me of my mums vagina

n.dubs January 24, 2009 at 9:12 AM

GAY

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