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An excellent point!

>Now change the moon to be more heat conductive (causing the surface temperature to drop due to more heat loss on the dark side),

Yeah, although this isn't too big in the case of the moon (unlike the Earth, it doesn't have an atmosphere and doesn't rotate rapidly, so there isn't too much redistribution of heat across its surface), it is definitely something that would confound the calculations. We'd still be able to just look at the effective temperature of light falling onto the moon and that would limit the temperature that we could light the object up to. But we wouldn't be able to use a direct measurement of the temperature of the surface of the moon.

> and more reflective (causing the surface temperature to drop further due to less absorption).

To the extent that it's a gray body (and most objects are approximately graybodies), this wouldn't actually lower the temperature. Absorptivity < 1 causes it to absorb less energy from the light, but for a gray body emmisivity equals absorptivity so it also radiates out less light too, and you actually end up reaching the same equillibrium temperature as fully absorptive black body.




Thanks for the kind response. I now see that the final average core temperature should remain the same, but I'm less sure about the surface temperature. There are a lot of complex processes involved, and I'm not sure that one can conclude that everything cancels out to keep the answer constant.

I respond late to offer a link (that's hidden on the second page of this thread) that I think presents that argument I was trying to make better than I managed to: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/370446/is-randal.... I thought the comments on the answer were a helpful reframing of the problem.




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