Chile observatory finds the coldest spot in space
The coldest place in the universe -- just one degree above absolute zero, the temperatures at which all atoms freeze -- is the Boomerang Nebula, astronomers in Chile said Wednesday.
It is about 5,000 light years away in the Centaurus constellation, the scientists at the ALMA observatory said.
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The nebula is "colder, in fact, than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, which is the natural background temperature of space," the statement explained.
It runs a temperature of one degree Kelvin (-272 degrees Celsius or -458 degrees Fahrenheit), making it "the coldest known object in the universe," the ALMA said.
The Boomerang Nebula is a relatively young planetary nebula, which is a glowing shell of ionized gas ejected from the outer layers of a sun-like star in its final stages.
It is expanding rapidly, and using up energy in the process, creating a cooling effect, permitting it to stay colder than the temperatures around it.
The image was captured by the Atacama Large Millimeter-submillimeter Array -- ALMA -- a telescope installed on a plateau 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) high in the Atacama desert, where almost no humidity or vegetation to block its view of the heavens.
The installation is a joint effort among North American, European and Asian agencies.
by Steve Weizman © 2013 AFP
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Source : AFP