Sit. Rep. #85: System Temperature vs Heat

1– Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking did what they called “thought experiments.”  They used this process to take physics to a higher level.  Both are extremely fun to read about and study.
But where I want to go is to do a thought explanation of the difference between heat & temperature.  I had to figure this out when I read about the Parker Solar Probe going so close to the Sun.  This also applies to earth weather.    The units and sizes do not matter but I will stick to metric.  So here goes.

2- Say we have 2 atoms in system of a perfect 1 meter cube with a temperature of 50 degrees C.  ( Or we could have 2 trillion atoms at 50,000 degrees C – does not matter for this thought process )  That gives us X amount of heat per system (the cubic meter).

Next: We keep the number of atoms the same but now let us expand the system to 2 cubic meters.  And keep the temperature the same for both of the atoms.  BUT we have X/2 (half) heat per cubic meter.  Because we have doubled the size of the system – from 1 cubic meter to 2 cubic meters.


2B- The Parker Solar Probe will be exposed to 1,400 to 1,650 deg. C at the heat shield.  The individual particles that hit the heat shield will be several million degrees hot.  Because there are so few particles the amount of heat that is actually transferred to the probe’s heat shield is minimal.  The probe will fly (roughly) to within 6.4 million Km of the Sun’s surface.  Note:  The heat shield is about 4.5 feet thick.  And Sol is ~152 million Km distant from Earth.

Note:  Here on earth we have about 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules per cubic centimeter.   In outer space there only are a few molecules per cubic centimeter.  There are a few more molecules inside the Solar System (closer to Sol ) than in deep space.  Another way to think about it;  You could easily hold in your hand the total amount of material in a cubic kilometer of space.

3- How does that also apply to our weather here on earth?  Let us examine what we already know.  The atmosphere is thinner at altitude than at sea level.  IE: There are fewer molecules per cubic centimeter.

3B- There is the term in weather circles “adiabatic” or “adiabatic winds.”  These are the winds on the windward side of a mountain or mountain range.  They cool as the winds progress up the mountain.  Why?

3C- Let’s assume that the individual molecules stay at the same temperature.  But the “system” expands ( fewer molecules per cubic centimeter ) so there is less heat in a given cubic centimeter at altitude.  It feels and is cooler because there is less heat.  Note: there are fewer Oxygen (O2) molecules at altitude.

3D- Adiabatic winds are also on the leeward side of the mountains and perform exactly the opposite of the windward side winds.  As they rush down the mountain the winds warm up.

M- What do you call a cloistered priest eating potato chips?
N- A chip monk.

4-  When I talk about maps I will mostly talk about United States Geological Survey Topographical Maps.  USGS is one abbreviation and Topo is another that I will use.  Remember that our Federal Tax Dollars paid for the surveys.  But individual maps cost if you order them.  Or you can print them at no cost.  Here is the USGS Map Store.

4A- To fully understand a map; read the entire outside perimeter first.  Topo maps have 8 adjoining maps that are named on the 4 sides and the 4 corners.  The name and the degree of detail are in the upper right corner.  The name is called the “Quadrangle.”  An example is  “High Rock Quadrangle, North Carolina.”  And the degrees are in minutes, seconds, or whole degrees.  The most common size is called a 7.5-minute series topo map.

4B- There may be other federal agencies listed at the top of the map.  Such as the U. S. Department of Agriculture or the U. S. Forest Service.  You should see on every map: United States Department of the Interior, Geological Survey.

O- What do you call little black cats?
P- Kittens.

5- The US Flag is technically called the Flag of the United States of America.  It is also called: Old Glory, Star & Stripes, Star-Spangled Banner, and The Red White & Blue.  The current design is the 27th different design and is now the longest-serving design.  The current 50-star design is dated July 4, 1960.  But the current design was ordered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 21, 1959, to replace the 49-star version.  The 49-star version was and did to go out of date on the following July 4.

5A- The US Flag should always be flown with the blue field with the white stars on the top.  If the flag is flown upside down; that is used to signal distress or emergency.

6- Can you guess the ONLY legal time that the US Flag is not flown equal or higher than any other flag?  Hint: It is even in the Code of the United States – ie: It is codified into US Federal Law.

Q- Where the first French Fries made?
R- In Grease.

7- Listen to Johnny Cash’s song called “Ragged Old Flag.”  Find it on youtube.

Kinda proud,

The U.S. Presidents Joke Book by Thomas Mercaldo

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