# Tagged Questions

The temperature-dependant emission of electromagnetic waves. Combine this tag with [tag:thermodynamics] for a macroscopic view or [tag:quantum-mechanics] for a microscopic explanation.

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### Why do metal surfaces reflect thermal signature?

I recently borrowed a thermal camera from a friend and I tried to observe my palm print over a reflective metallic plate. When I looked at it through the camera, it reflected my thermal signature too. ...
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An ideal blackbody absorbs all incident radiation. Josef Stefan found that the intensity $R$ (power per unit area) radiated by an ideal blackbody is given by $$R = \sigma T^4$$ Q1) Since an ideal ...
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### Calculating new temperature of an object when air temperature changes

I'm trying to calculate the new temperature of an object when the air temperature around it changes, given a period of time. Basically I get periodic readings from an air temperature sensor in a ...
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I quickly plunged a room-temperature thermometer into very hot water, the mercury level went down briefly before going up to a final reading. Why?
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### How damaging is light? [closed]

On Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman, when talking about the Trinity test, the author states: the only thing that could really hurt your eyes (bright light can never hurt your eyes) is ultraviolet ...
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### How can the black body radiation formula be so general?

In the derivation of the black body radiation formula, there is nothing whatsoever that relates to a particular/specific material. But we nonetheless use this formula for several distinct sources in ...
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### How can it be that the sun emits more than a black body?

As far as I know, a black body is an ideal emitter. So how can it be that a non-ideal emitter emits more radiation than a black body? This happens only in a very limited area at around 500nm, but it ...
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### Index of refraction appearing in the radiative transfer equation

In this publication the Radiative Transfer Equation (RTE) (eq. (7)) contains the following emission term: $$n_i^2\kappa_{d,i}L_{b,i}(\mathbf{r})$$ where $n_i$ is the refractive index of component $i$...
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### How can a metal heated at 600° emit thermal photons at 4000°+?

Suppose we have a cube of metal inside a room at temperature 27°. If we heat the metal up to 600° using uniform radiation of that energy, no part of it should have higher T°, but nevertheless it will ...
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### How does quantization solve the ultraviolet catastrophe?

I understand how classical physics leads to the UV catastrophe. But I cannot understand how quantization solves it. How can quantization prevent the body from radiating a lot of energy? I know ...
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### Maintaining local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) in radiating gas with a broad atomic transition line

Definitions / Background In LTE, Kirchoff's law for radiation holds: $$\frac{j_{\nu}}{\alpha_{\nu}} = B_{\nu} (T)$$ where $j_{\nu}$ is the specific radiative emissivity, $\alpha_{\nu}$ is the ...
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### Extracting heat energy without a heat engine

Is it possible to extract the molecular kinetic energy from a system directly (without the use of a heat engine / temperature gradient) and convert that to another form of energy, such as electricity, ...
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### Physical reason why (hot) objects glow? [duplicate]

Every object at a non-zero temperature radiates light, i.e. it glows. (Is that called blackbody radiation?) What is the physical reason to this? Is it because more heat implies that the atoms ...
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Any object can emit and absorb radiation and the power of emission can be represented by the Stefan-Boltzmann law: $$P=A\epsilon\sigma T^4$$ In many texts the net power radiated is the difference ...
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### How does quantization solve UV catastrophe in black body radiation? What would happen if there was no Planck constant $h$?

Planck's Law is $$I(\nu,T)=\frac{8\pi\nu^3}{c^2}\cdot\frac{1}{e^{h\nu/kT}−1}$$ This solves the UV catastrophe. For higher frequencies, intensity goes to zero. It does so because of $e^\nu$ not ...
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### How can blackbody radition be explained by quantization?

I don't understand why quantization makes a peak on the blackbody radiation curve (so there is no UV catastrophe) and the relationship between that peak and quantization concept. When the blackbody ...
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### Calibrating the relative intensity of a spectrometer with a blackbody source?

I am trying to compare the relative brightness of H-Beta and H-Alpha lines using a CCD spectrometer. In order to correct for the different grating efficiency at the two different wavelengths. I took ...
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### Absorption cross section and absorption coefficient

What is the absorption cross section, how is it measured? How to convert it to the absorption coefficient (measured in cm$^{-1}$)?
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### Absorption coefficient from HITEMP or HITRAN [closed]

How to calculate the absorption coefficient (for radiation) from HITEMP or HITRAN databases? Or where can I find some tables or plots for the absorption coefficient?
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The equation for radiative transfer is $$\omega \cdot \nabla I = \kappa(B - I)$$ where $I$ is the intensity of radiation, $\omega$ is the ray direction, $\kappa$ the absorption coefficient, $B$ the ...
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I used to live in Italy, and when it was sunny, well, as expected it was pretty hot. Both under the direct light of the sun through the atmosphere, and in the shade, where the temperature was of ...
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### How badly could someone be injured by concentrated sunlight?

Recently-ish, I stumbled across an interesting short story (by way of Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange) where a soccer referee is apparently incinerated by concentrated sunlight. Where ...
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### Why does my infrared thermometer say the sky is at -2 °C?

I just got myself an infrared thermometer. I wouldn't have been able to predict what temperature it would give me when pointing at the sky, but it turned out to be -2 °C the first time I measured, and ...
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### Blackbody and standing waves

I'm reading articles about black body radiation and why classical mechanics fails to explain it. My question is: Why do EM waves have to be standing wave in a cavity?
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### How does heat actually stay kept in the carbon molecules in the atmosphere? [duplicate]

We have all learned that the earth is getting heat up because of the CO2 and CO molecules absorbing heat. However, how is heat actually kept in those molecules. When photons heat them up, their ...
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### If black and white object are in isolated space will the black absorb heat from the white?

This question has come to me from my friend in fact: he noted that the heating in the pub is painted black. I replied that it's better for heat emission. I don't know where did I know that from. And ...
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### Question on luminosity of a radiant source and its dependence on temperature, and involvement of Doppler Effect

A few days ago, I happened to go through the chapters on Radiation, and Photometry, studying them at quite an elementary level. I studied Wien's displacement law, and the dependence of luminous flux ...
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### Can the hot combustion products from a large flame be in “non-local thermal equilibrium”

Question: Does it take some time for the hot combustion products from a flame to reach local thermodynamical equilibrium (i.e. for the energy state populations to follow the Boltzmann distribution)? ...
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### Does a surface in front of a radiator (not in contact) have a significant effect on the room's temperature or heating rate?

Does a surface in front of a radiator (not in contact) have a significant effect on the room's temperature or heating rate? Some time ago I had a discussion about it, and despite none of us knowing ...
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### Black body radiation application [closed]

Does it make difference if you paint a wall black or white? If yes, how does it work? Thanks for reading!
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### How is temperature related to color?

I spent some time studying about temperatures and color of objects. It turns out that as we heat something it turns to red, then yellowish white and if we heat it more it turns to bluish-white. Like ...
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### What's wrong with this simple derivation of energy flux in a photon gas?

In a photon gas, we know that pressure, $P$, and energy density, $u$, are related by: $$P=\frac{u}{3}$$ We also know from relativity that the momentum of a photon is $$p=\frac{E}{c}$$ Finally, the ...
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### Temperature on the surface of the sun calculated with the Stefan-Boltzmann-rule

In a German Wikipedia page, the following calculation for the temperature on the surface of the Sun is made: $\sigma=5.67*10^{-8}\frac{W}{m^2K^4}$ (Stefan-Boltzmann constant) $S = 1367\frac{W}{m^2}$ ...
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### Is darkness really light?

According to this wikipedia article "Consequently, most objects that absorb visible light reemit it as heat. So, although an object may appear dark, it is likely bright at a frequency that humans ...
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### Does one square centimenter of the sun core really radiate this amount of energy?

I have been thinking that since the core of the sun maintains its temperature at 15 million degrees Kelvin, then every cubic centimeter of this core is receiving a certain amount of energy to keep it ...
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### Is temperature discrete

Because an object's temperature is inversely proportional to the wavelength of blackbody radiation which it emits, physicists have theorized the existence of Planck temperature at around $1.4×10^{32}$ ...
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### Could airport security devices detect differences between printed and written documents?

If airport security scanners of any kind (xray, thermal, whatever else they use) looked at two items: A printed paper textbook The same printed paper textbook into which we have inserted a regular ...
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### Black Body and Electron [closed]

My questions are: How does a black body absorb photons? Why does a black body absorb the most photons of all objects (e.g. those with another color)? Are there any relationship between the ...
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### Physics and Skin Color: What differences do physicists observe between different skin colors?

I majored in social sciences, so I haven't taken a science class since 1999, so forgive me if I don't ask this right. What difference would skin color make from a physics perspective? Would there be ...
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### Quantum Temperature?

I was thinking if temperature is proportional to the rate at which energy is transferred then does it exist on a quantum as well as a classical scale? If so what is it proportional to exactly?
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### Thermal AdS and the Hawking Page phase transition

I have some difficulty understanding the concept of pure thermal radiation, as described in Hawking and Page's paper on the Hawking-Page phase transition. The four-dimensional thermal AdS solution (...
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### Gas vs electric cooking

I've heard it said many times that you're more likely to burn food on an electric stove than a gas one, but I can't tell a difference. This seems to me to be a fallacy perpetuated by the natural gas ...
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### Why do grey body radiators not heat up?

So I'm doing so work on the earth's climate system, and modelling it as a grey body radiators, and I've come across the phrase: "$62\%$ of the outgoing energy is lost to space and the other $32\%$ is ...
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### Do COBE, WMAP, and Plack have design flaws? [duplicate]

MRI expert Pierre-Marie Robitaille on the design flaws of COBE, WMAP, & Planck and the violation Kirchhoff's Law: Here are his talks: Pierre-Marie Robitaille: The Cosmic Microwave Background ...