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How many degrees is it outside? – this is how you find out

How many degrees is it outside? - how to find out

Every German is probably familiar with the word “temperature”. There are bound to be many times in your life when someone asks about the temperature. Then you will probably answer something like: “It's 10 degrees Celsius.” But what does that even mean? In this article you will learn how temperature is defined, how to find out the current temperature and what to consider when measuring.


Temperature is a physical quantity. It determines the heat or cold that a gas (this includes air), possesses an object or a liquid. Temperature can be measured in a variety of units, with the most common unit being degrees Celsius. While the Americans speak of “degrees Fahrenheit”, physicists determine and measure the temperature in Kelvin. The name “Celsius” goes back to the scientist Anders Celsius, who studied temperatures in the 18th century. In parallel, the term “Fahrenheit” also comes from a scientist. Namely by the German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, who lived from 1686 to 1736 and invented measuring instruments. The fact that physicists measure and determine temperatures in Kelvin is thanks to the British physicist William Thomson. This researched in the fields of electricity theory and thermodynamics. At the young age of just 24, Thomson inaugurated the thermodynamic temperature scale.

How is temperature measured?

It is measured with a thermometer. There are different variants of thermometers, on the one hand the liquid thermometer, which contains alcohol, mercury or other liquids. There are also bimetal thermometers and digital thermometers. Regardless of the thermometer used, the temperature is always measured in the shade. Temperature information that is published in weather reports, for example, is always based on measurements in the shade.

How do you find out the current outside temperature?

There are several ways to find out the current temperature. For example, you can get a thermometer and attach this home. But where should you attach the thermometer? You should hang the thermometer in the shade, because direct sunlight would lead to an incorrect temperature. However, the thermometer should also be protected from other heat radiation. Avoid attaching the thermometer sensor directly to a house wall.That leads to measurement errors of a few degrees, because house walls emit thermal radiation. Attaching a thermometer to the wall of a house, especially at night, would have a negative impact on temperature measurements. Another important aspect for an undistorted temperature measurement is that the air can circulate around the sensor as unhindered as possible.

If the sensor is locked in, the temperature of the surrounding air cannot be measured correctly. It is best if you also hang the thermometer at a height of 2 meters. Because it is not the air that is heated directly by the sun, but the earth's surface first. Because the warm surface slowly heats the air above, the temperature at 2 meters above ground level is lower than the air temperature at ground level. You should also make sure that the thermometer is well ventilated. In addition to this classic method, you can make use of the Internet. You can simply search for the current temperature for a specific location in the search bar, or download one of the many weather apps. You can also switch on the TV, the weather reports are often shown on the TV.

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