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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

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

By Phil Plait

[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!

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.

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

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