MadSci Network: Physics

Re: How do the colors in the spectrum correspond with temperature?

Area: Physics
Posted By: John Haberman, Space Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Center, Greenbelt MD
Date: Tue Jan 14 15:27:37 1997
Message ID: 850668582.Ph

Hi Elyce,

Yes, there is a simple formula that works very well and gives the wavelength 
(color) of the maximum emission as a function of temperature.  You can find 
more information in a general physics reference or in a college physics book. 
This formula is called Wein's rule.  The formula is  L = 2900/T  where L is the 
wavelength measured in microns and T is the temperature in (degrees) Kelvin.
Look up the wavelengths for red and violet light and you will be able to 
calculate values for the temperature range of visible light.

John Haberman, Space Scientist
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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