Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

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

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitFebruary 2, 2012 10:19 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

QandBA_logo.jpg

[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!

[embed width="610"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps87Lqrs9d4[/embed]

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!

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In