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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

The Hottest Temperature Ever Recorded

By August 21, 2013

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Do you know what the hottest temperature ever recorded was? Take a guess... I bet you guess low. It was 3.6 billion degrees Fahrenheit, which is around 2 billion Kelvin. To give you some idea how hot that is, the interior of the sun is a frosty 15 million Kelvin. The record-setting temperature was set by the Z machine at Sandia Lab in 2006. The Z machine is an x-ray generator that is used to test the response of materials to extreme temperatures and pressures. It releases 20 million amps of electricity into an array of fine wires, vaporizing them into plasma. A strong magnetic field compresses the plasma, which releases x-rays and tends to be a few million degrees. Scientists don't know how or why the Z machine achieved such incredible temperatures, though they were able to reproduce the result. When the record temperatures were achieved, the plasma was releasing more energy than had been input, which usually indicates a nuclear reaction is occurring. I've been wondering how they measured a temperature that high in the first place. If you have any insight into that, please post a reply.


June 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm
(1) Todd says:

Trying again…

I found some comments on the Sandia paper here

It gives some insight into how Sandia measures temperatures.

It’s pretty interesting… although I admit not being able to finish it all in one sitting.

The analysis concludes that the temperature had actually reached 3.7 billion K or 6.6 billion degrees F.

February 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm
(2) jennifer says:

what is the hottest temputure ever recored

February 16, 2010 at 9:12 am
(3) Ryan says:
January 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm
(4) Nisarg says:

By looking at the peak wavelength or the “colour” of the glow, one can find the temperature. See Wein’s Displacement law.

March 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm
(5) Chuck says:
March 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(6) Chuck says:

Check this out, interesting info from CERN.

4 Trillion Degrees Celsius or 7.2 Trillion Degrees Fahrenheit


August 22, 2013 at 12:04 am
(7) sad but true says:

They practiced by measuring how hot my ex would get when I asked her to drop a few pounds or clean the house.

December 7, 2013 at 2:49 am
(8) Satyam Sharma says:

In August 2012 ALICE scientists announced that their experiments produced quark-gluon plasma with temperature at around 5.5 trillion degrees, the highest temperature mass achieved in any physical experiments thus far.[1] This temperature is about 38% higher than the previous record of about 4 trillion degrees, achieved in the 2010 experiments at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The ALICE results were announced at the August 13 Quark Matter 2012 conference in Washington, DC. The quark-gluon plasma produced by these experiments approximates the conditions in the universe that existed microseconds after the Big Bang, before the matter coalesced into atoms.

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