Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

If the Earth were adrift in space, what would happen to its atmosphere?

  1. Aug 14, 2012 #1
    If the Earth were slung out of its orbit, away from the Sun's light and warmth, what would happen to its atmosphere? How quickly would it cool? The core and magma would provide some warmth to the surface, but even with our greenhouse gases holding in heat, I assume that everything would turn chilly very quickly. Anyone have any idea what the equilibrium temperature would be? How quickly would it be cold enough to liquify and freeze oxygen and nitrogen? A hundred or thousand years after its escape from our solar system, what would its atmosphere, if any, be like?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 14, 2012 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Well, how much colder does it get at night? A good guess would be twice that per day.
     
  4. Aug 15, 2012 #3

    mfb

    User Avatar
    2016 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    See this post for simulations.
     
  5. Aug 17, 2012 #4
    // Fixing post give me a second
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook