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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1answer
42k views

Why does NASA use gold foil on equipment and gold-coated visors?

I've read several websites about equipment covered with gold foil and astronaut helmet visors are coated with gold. However, their explanations are devoid of almost all physics content. Can someone ...
33
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5answers
6k views

Is fire plasma?

Is Fire a Plasma? If not, what is it then? If yes why, don't we teach kids this basic example? UPDATE: I probably meant a regular commonplace fire of the usual temperature. That should simplify ...
26
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3answers
949 views

The Pioneer anomaly finally explained?

Pioneer 10 & 11 are robotic space probes launched by the NASA in the early 1970's. After leaving our solar system, an unusual deceleration of both spacecrafts has been measured to be approximately ...
20
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4answers
408 views

Paradox?: What is the form of radiation experienced by a harmonically accelerated observer?

Theory predicts that uniform acceleration leads to experiencing thermal radiation (so called Fulling Davies Unruh radiation), associated with the appearance of an event horizon. For non uniform but ...
17
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2answers
418 views

Why aren't gas planets and stars fuzzy? [duplicate]

The edge of Jupiter looks very sharp. Even more bothersome, the edge of the sun looks sharp, aside from kind of a soup of particles floating above it. The sun's surface has an incredibly low ...
15
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6answers
1k views

What are the various physical mechanisms for energy transfer to the photon during blackbody emission?

By conservation of energy, the solid is left in a lower energy state following emission of a photon. Clearly absorption and emission balance at thermal equilibrium, however, thermodynamic equilibrium ...
13
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4answers
1k views

Entropy of radiation emitted into space

In several papers I see something equivalent to the following expression for the entropy of radiation given by an astronomical object such as the Sun (assuming the object can be approximated as a ...
12
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1answer
320 views

Quantum uncertainty of particle falling in black hole

A stationary observer at infinity sees a particle of mass m falling in a supermassive Schwarzschild black hole. He observes an increasing redshift and sees the particle ceasing to progress when it ...
11
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3answers
860 views

Which color of an umbrella is more effective against sunlight?

It's usually said that black umbrellas are best against sun, since black absorbs most of the radiation . The common umbrellas in market(atleast in India) are painted black outside and silvery inside. ...
11
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1answer
453 views

Thermodynamically possible to hide a Dyson sphere?

You build a Dyson sphere around a star to capture all its energy. The outer surface of the Dyson sphere still radiates heat at much higher temperature than the cold space background, so you're easy to ...
9
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2answers
344 views

Do gases reflect some IR radiation?

The usual definition given for a greenhouse gas is that it absorbs infrared radiation. Of course, then the gas emits its own thermal radiation, and it does so without preference for direction ...
9
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6answers
2k views

Is “dark clothes for winter, light for summer” relevant?

We are told to wear light clothes in summer as they are better at reflecting sunshine and keeping us cool. And dark clothes absorb sunshine and keep us warm. But is it really relavent? If I buy ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we use Planck's constant?

I have been trying to reason why energy packets (i.e. photons) are assumed to be quantized. I know this originated from Max Planck, but may someone explain why energy couldn't be emitted continuously ...
8
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2answers
640 views

Deriving Planck's radiation law from microscopic considerations?

In the usual derivation of Planck's radiation law, the energies or frequencies $\omega$ of the oscillators depend on the measurements $L$ of the black body. The model is such that the only ...
8
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2answers
319 views

Planck's Law-Where does it come from?

It seems that Planck's constant was made from fitting a curve for blackbody radiation, is it just experimental-further more his assumption that energy comes in quanta seems to have been a guess. Why ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Would wearing clothing that is black on the inside and white on the outside keep you cooler?

The Straight Dope ran an explanation of why nomads often wear black clothing - it absorbs heat better from the body. On the other hand, white clothing reflects sunlight better. Is it possible to get ...
8
votes
1answer
279 views

Do burning red coals and red-hot iron have the same temperature?

It would seem that Planck's law implies that objects of similar radiation spectra have the same temperature if the objects are "similarly close" to being black bodies. Am I right to infer that ...
8
votes
1answer
170 views

radiation thermodynamics paradox

This question is concerned with a thermodynamic paradox for radiating bodies and radiation in a cavity of a specific shape. Consider two nested shells that are axisymmetric ellipsoids with the same ...
8
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1answer
834 views

What temperature can you attain with a solar furnace?

A solar furnace is a device that concentrates the sun's light on a small point to heat it up to high temperature. One can imagine that in the limit of being completely surrounded by mirrors, your ...
8
votes
1answer
238 views

Graphene as optical and UV mirrors

One usually hears about graphene as a good thermal conductor, and good light absorber due to its tunable bandgap properties. But i haven't heard about its aplicability as an optical mirror. In fact, ...
7
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2answers
665 views

What causes a blackbody radiation curve to be continuous?

The ideal blackbody radiation curve (unlike the quantized emission seen from atomic spectra), is continuous over all frequencies. Many objects approximate ideal blackbodies and have radiation curves ...
7
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1answer
252 views

Why is there a space between the flame and the nozzle on the space shuttle?

Why is there some space between the flame and the nozzle on the space shuttle? (see above picture)
7
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3answers
1k views

Quantum mechanics of thermal radiation

What are the quantum mechanisms behind the emission and absorption of thermal radiation at and below room temperature? If the relevant quantum state transitions are molecular (stretching, flexing and ...
7
votes
1answer
814 views

What’s the relationship between thermal radiation and Johnson thermal noise?

All objects above absolute zero emit radiation due to random collisions between the atoms they are made of. The spectrum of radiation emitted varies according to the temperature of the object, I ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do lightbulbs continue to glow after the light is turned off?

I've noticed that whenever I turn the lamp off in my room at night, the lightbulb seems to continue to glow for a minute or so after that. It's not bright though; the only way I even notice it is if ...
6
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1answer
158 views

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s?

How would a physicist measure temperature of molten metals in 1850-1920s? What equipment would be used?
6
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1answer
177 views

Measuring temperature at a distance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKYrXHZwtPw In this video it is explained that Land Skin Temperature (LST) are measured by NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. It seems it works by collecting the ...
6
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2answers
203 views

Does the Cosmic Microwave Background obey $\sigma T^4$?

The fact that the CMB has a temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin is well publicized, but I have a harder time finding a measure of the wattage per unit area. The Wikipedia article on the CMB is totally ...
6
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3answers
140 views

Can visible light be emitted from a non-thermal source?

I was reading about thermal and non-thermal radiation and I was wondering if visible light can be emitted from a non-thermal source?
6
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2answers
380 views

Why do moving particles emit thermal radiation?

While answering another question about heat in an atom, the discussion in the comments led to the question of how heat is related to thermal radiation picked up by infrared cameras. The answer is that ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

The strange thing about the maximum in Planck's law

I read that it makes a difference whether you calculate $\frac{d \omega}{d \lambda}=0$ or $\frac{d \omega}{d \nu}=0$ in the sense that the maximum energy densit with respect to the wavelength does not ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

Light emitted by an object according to its temperature

According to this picture the light emitted by an object depends on its temperature. That makes perfect sense when we heat a metal. As its temperature raises we see it red at first, then orange, ...
5
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4answers
4k views

What causes hot things to glow, and at what temperature?

I have an electric stove, and when I turn it on and turn off the lights, I notice the stove glowing. However, as I turn down the temperature, it eventually goes away completely. Is there a cut-off ...
5
votes
4answers
261 views

what is the basic form of the 'fire'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is fire matter or energy? What is the basic form of fire? physics defines every entity by a basic form either solid or liquid or as a gas, example: water is liquid, ice ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Temperature of glowing materials

As I understand it, Stars emit visible light, OBAFGKMRNS, in the range of $10^3 - 10^4 K$. Yet materials such as steel emit similar frequencies at much lower temps; red is around 800K. Why the ...
5
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2answers
236 views

Radiation pressure on a Dyson sphere

To find the outward pressure from the sun's light on an enveloping spherical shell (Dyson sphere), one can simply divide the insolation by $c^2$. Using the entire system, we can specify the power of ...
5
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1answer
928 views

Historic derivation of Wien's law

Every book I've read, including a lot of websites, Wikipedia, etc, say that Wien derived this: $$\rho_\nu(T)=\rho(\nu,T)=\nu^3f\left(\frac{\nu}{T}\right)$$ Being $\rho_v(T)$ the spectral enegy ...
5
votes
1answer
237 views

How do I measure the temperature of a tiny water droplet?

How do I accurately (+/- 0.1 degrees Celsius or better) measure the temperature of a small (5 to 50 microliter) water droplet without noticeably affecting its temperature? The mass of a thermistor or ...
5
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0answers
114 views

Gravitational redshift of Hawking radiation

How can Hawking radiation with a finite (greather than zero) temperature come from the event horizon of a black hole? A redshifted thermal radiation still has Planck spectrum but with the lower ...
4
votes
2answers
205 views

Do green stars exists?

I asked a university lecturer why we don't observe green stars, and he said the blackbody curve averages at that frequency such that the cones in our eyes don't recognise it. I have a hunch that ...
4
votes
3answers
749 views

2 ways to generate electromagnetic wave

According to Maxwell's equations, accelerating charges emit electromagnetic radiation. According to Quantum physics, heating causes electromagnetic radiation too. These 2 radiations, are they ...
4
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2answers
336 views

Greenhouse gases

A post (below) on the Bishop Hill blog relating to climate change asserts that no warming effect can be attributed to CO2. I don't know whether the author is really a physicist but it sounds ...
4
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2answers
163 views

Optical element is heated by laser: is it possible to get oscillating heat distribution?

Imagine that we have thin optical element, which is irradiated by laser. Laser heats element, so there is some heat distribution in element. There is a heat sink through upper and lower element faces ...
4
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2answers
180 views

Black body radiation

I have a few questions related to the emission of electromagnetic radiation by black bodies. Consider the following image: On the above image I have drawn the rays of light that are emmited by ...
4
votes
1answer
172 views

Bunsen Burners and the Sun

Why do Bunsen burners burn blue in the center? What element is being burned? Why does the sun glow yellow, and not blue-a Bunsen burner is much cooler and yet it burns blue. Is it because the ...
4
votes
1answer
223 views

How is the index of refraction dependence in Planck's law compatible with thermodynamics?

In various formulae for black-body radiation where $c$ appears, there is an implicit index of refraction dependence, since $c=c_0/n$, where $c$ is the speed of light, $c_0$ is the speed of light in ...
4
votes
1answer
340 views

How to estimate condensation from air?

How to estimate the amount of water condensing from air on a surface, given the air's temperature and relative humidity and how they change over time, the surface temperature, material's thermal ...
4
votes
1answer
668 views

Wien's displacement law in frequency domain [duplicate]

When I tried to derive the Wien's displacement law I used Planck's law for blackbody radiation: $I_\nu = \frac{8 \pi \nu^2}{c^3} \frac{h \nu}{e^{h\nu/k_bT}-1}$ Asking for maximum: $\frac{dI_\nu}{d ...
3
votes
5answers
5k views

Will adding heat to a material increase or decrease entropy?

Does adding heat to a material, thereby increasing electrical resistance in the material increase or decrease entropy? Follow up questions: Is there a situation were Heat flux ie. thermal flux, ...
3
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3answers
288 views

Leap from photon gas energy distribution to black body radiation?

I remember considering in class in college, the case of a photon gas trapped in a d-dimensional box as a subject of interest, whose energy distribution, heat capacity, etc. should be calculated. ...