13 Oct Coldest Place In The Universe

This one gets the nod for bending the rules of the universe, no small matter.

In a cavern in Italy, an international team of researchers have created the coldest cubic meter in the universe, only a fraction of a degree above absolute zero. The experiment is called CUORE (Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events) and was built to detect the mass of a neutrino, once and for all.

How cold is that? Even space – the deepest reaches of empty, interstellar space – has a temperature of approximately 2.7K. Compared to CUORE, this is like pouring a scalding cup of coffee in your lap, while sitting on a beach in Sicily, in August. The innermost container at CUORE will be chilled so far that even atoms will not have enough energy to vibrate. The universe is an estimated 92 Billion light-years, from side to side, and for the next five years, the frostiest bit in the whole shop will be under a mountain in Italy. Stop and ponder that a moment…

By comparison, the next coldest observed area in the universe is a mere 5,000 light-years away, in the Boomerang Nebula, created by rapidly expanding, cooling gas, and that is still 1 degree above Kelvin.[1] Which gives us something else to consider: We are aware of the cold spot in the Boomerang Nebula because it shows up on our long-range sensing equipment – in this instance, the Hubble Telescope. This means that the CUORE experiment, should anyone be looking our way, will show up like a beacon: <<ATTENTION: Physical Law Boundary-Exceeding Experiment Taking Place Here. >>

Perhaps the SETI team had it wrong, all along. The presence of the Cold Cubic Meter, even more than the copious radio activity streaming out of our system, will tell observers all they need to know about our capabilities and experimental interests.

[1] Boomerang Nebula is cold: [http://tinyurl.com/l6nsf4p]