Celsius is, or relates to, the Celsius temperature scale (previously known as the centigrade scale). The degree Celsius (symbol: °C) can refer to a specific temperature on the Celsius scale as well as serve as unit increment to indicate a temperature interval(a difference between two temperatures or an uncertainty). “Celsius” is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701-1744), who developed a similar temperature scale two years before his death.

Until 1954, 0 °C on the Celsius scale was defined as the melting point of ice and 100 °C was defined as the boiling point of water under a pressure of one standard atmosphere; this close equivalence is taught in schools today. However, the unit “degree Celsius” and the Celsius scale are currently, by international agreement, defined by two different points: absolute zero, and the triple point of specially prepared water. This definition also precisely relates the Celsius scale to the Kelvin scale, which is the SI base unit of temperature (symbol: K). Absolute zero—the temperature at which nothing could be colder and no heat energy remains in a substance—is defined as being precisely 0 K and −273.15 °C. The triple point of water is defined as being precisely 273.16 K and 0.01 °C.

Comparison chart

Celsius versus Kelvin comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartCelsiusKelvin
Absolute zero -273.15 0.00
Average human body temperature 37.0 309.95
Boiling temperature for water (at standard pressure) 99.9839 373.1339
Surface of the Sun 5526 5800
Highest recorded surface temperature on the Earth 58 331
Lowest recorded surface temperature on the Earth -89 184
Melting temperature for ice (at standard pressure) 0 273.14


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"Celsius vs Kelvin." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 8 Dec 2018. < >