Q&BA: Pound for pound, are humans hotter than the Sun?

Q&BA: Pound for pound, are humans hotter than the Sun?

Q&BA: Pound for pound, are humans hotter than the Sun?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Feb. 2 2012 11:19 AM

Q&BA: Pound for pound, are humans hotter than the Sun?

[Note: Every week I hold a live video chat on Google+ where I answer questions from readers. I call it Q&BA, and when I get a question that stands alone, I'll make it its own video. ]

Every now and again, I hear this urban legend that pound for pound, the human body is actually hotter (or has more energy) than the Sun. I got this question in a recent Q&BA video chat session, so I tackled it. The answer is pretty interesting, and depends on how you ask the question!


Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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I actually wrote about this legend on the blog a while back, and I show all the math. I really like this question, since it has a straightforward answer that makes it seem wrong, but then if you look at it more carefully the answer is a little trickier. And even in the video and that other post, it's not really a complete answer; if you read the comments on the post you'll see people arguing over it.

That's really the best kind of question: the ones that keep on going! There's always more stuff to figure out.

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Visit the Q&BA Archive to see more videos like this one!