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10 of the hottest places on Earth

June 5, 2013, 5:52 p.m.
Dasht-e Lut, Iran

Photo: ix3svs/Flickr

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Dasht-e Lut, Iran

Here it is: the hottest place on Earth. Iran's Lut Desert, an area so parched and desolate that no one is around to regularly monitor temperatures. (What a dreadful job that would be.)

Though maintaining a weather station is impractical in the Lut, a NASA satellite equipped with a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) was able to measure temperatures here from space, during a seven-year study. In five of those years — 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2009 — the hottest spot on Earth could be found in the Lut. In 2005, a temperature of 159.3 degrees Fahrenheit was measured, the highest reading ever officially confirmed for a location on Earth.