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Homework Help: Thermodynamics question is baffling me

  1. Nov 11, 2006 #1
    So i've been given a problem in my thermodynamics class and it is completely confusing me. Here is the problem:

    "Measured from the time when the first rays of sunshine appear above the horizon until the moment when the sun is fully visible, sunrise lasts 2.1 minutes. Based on this information, and assuming that the earth and the sun are “black bodies”, can you estimate the temperature of the sun?"

    Now I don't even have any clue what the teacher is getting at. I suppose that using that time i can estimate the velocity of the sun. I don't see how this will lead me towards an estimate of the sun's temperature since I can not assume the sun's kinetic energy is due to thermal energy. Can anyone give me a hint as to what i should even be thinking about? thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2006 #2


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    "... can you estimate the temperature of the sun?"

    Looks like a "yes/no" to me --- which is it?
  4. Nov 12, 2006 #3
    :-) somehow I don't think a simple no I can't will suffice, haha. Wikipedia has a nifty way of estimating the temperature of the sun just using the distance between the sun and earth, and the radius of the sun, however I'm not sure how I can get both of these values simply from know this 2.1 minute value. Anyone got a hint for me?
  5. Nov 12, 2006 #4
    Well i've managed to answer the question, and i get an estimate of 5990 degrees kelvin which doesn't seem far off at all. I'm pleased. If anyone is interested in what I did, post here and i'll post my solution.
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