Friday, February 11, 2011
Vacuum has friction after all: The rate of deceleration also depends on temperature, since the hotter it is the more virtual photons pop in and out of existence, producing the friction. At room temperature, a 100-nanometre-wide grain of graphite, the kind that is abundant in interstellar dust, would take about 10 years to slow to about one-third of its initial speed. At 700 °C, an average temperature for hot areas of the universe, that same speed decrease would take only 90 days. In the cold of interstellar space, it would take 2.7 million years.