What is the temperature on the Earth’s Moon? Unlike temperatures on our planet, the temperatures on the moon are extreme and severe. The exact temperature on the moon depends on the location of the Sun.
Due to the moon’s tilt on its axis and the way it rotates around the Earth, the moon is always lit up by the sun on one side and dark on the other. One “day” on the moon equals about 27 Earth days. Half of the moon will be in daytime for about fourteen Earth days, while the side in the darkness will experience nighttime for also fourteen Earth days.
When illuminated by the sun, the surface of the moon can reach up to 127 degrees Celsius (260 Fahrenheit). When the illuminated side moves into darkness, the temperature falls significantly. Since the sun no longer heats the surface, the moon’s surface can drop to -232 Celsius (-387 F). These are the coldest temperatures in our solar system, which means the surface of the moon becomes colder than that of Pluto.
The poles of the moon and the craters are the places that reach the most extreme temperatures. Due to its minimal tilt, the moon does not experience seasons. There are regions and places on the moon, specifically at the poles, where the sun cannot reach, making these spots the coldest places on the moon. There are a few craters located at the poles of the moon that have not been touched by sunlight for billions of years. NASA scientists have found signs of ice in these shadowy places and cratered regions. Scientists also discovered that some of these craters and shadowed areas could reach -272 degrees Celsius (-458 degrees Fahrenheit).
One reason for such extreme temperatures on the moon is the atmosphere. Unlike our planet, the moon does not have an atmosphere. On Earth, sunlight hits the ground and releases radiation. The radiation then moves upward, but it because trapped by our atmosphere and heats our planet. The atmosphere also diffuses radiation, keeping the Earth from becoming extremely hot. The moon has no atmosphere to trap heat or limit the power of the sun, leaving it to become extremely hot and cold.
The Earth’s core is another element that helps warm our planet. The core heats the innermost layers of our planet, which, in turn, warms the upper layers (where we stand). However, unlike our planet, the moon’s core is not warm enough to warm the upper layers. While the moon is smaller than the Earth, the core temperature of the moon does not get hot enough to warm the other layers that compose it.
The temperature of the moon ranges from extremely hot (127 Celsius) to extremely cold (-272 Celsius). Its temperature depends on whether you measure the temperature in the sun or the temperature in the dark. The temperature also depends on whether or not you measure a deep crater or a hill. Nonetheless, the temperatures on the moon are extreme, causing us to carefully consider how we build our lunar instruments and suits for our astronauts.