Climate

What's the coldest thing ever?


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There is no one constant coldest thing on Earth, but a copper cube nearly reached coldest temperature possible. A chunk of copper became the coldest cubic meter (35.3 cubic feet) on Earth when researchers chilled it to 6 millikelvins, or six-thousandths of a degree above absolute zero (0 Kelvin).

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0 degrees Kelvin (-460 Fahrenheit) is absolute zero, the temperature at which there is no heat energy and atoms are not moving at all. The temperature of deep space is 2.7 Kelvin (-455 Fahrenheit). This is the temperature of microwave background radiation, which permeates through the universe.

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Researchers set the current record with 100 picokelvins inside a piece of rhodium metal in 1999. The coldest cubic meter was 6 millikelvins in a lab in 2014. The coldest naturally-occurring known thing is the Boomerang Nebula at 1 kelvin.

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