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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

127
votes
1answer
56k 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 ...
39
votes
5answers
10k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Cooling a satellite

Satellites are isolated systems, the only way for it to transfer body heat to outer space is thermal radiation. There are solar panels, so there is continuous energy flow to inner system. No airflow ...
29
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
4k views

Why are stars white?

That is may be a easy question, but I am not a professional. The sun is a star and when I look at the sun is usually yellow. Why stars in the night are white? I suppose is for the distance. What is ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

Is a suit that hides a soldier's heat signature fundamentally possible?

I recently played "Crysis", a game where the protagonist wears a suit that allows the player to hide both himself and his heat signature. Then I watched Iron Man 3, where a kid suggests that Tony ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it possible to focus the radiation from a black body to make something hotter than that black body?

My previous question wasn't specific enough. I'll try to be more specific. Let's imagine we have a hot body let's say 6000K hot that emits lots of thermal radiation. Let's assume 1kW of radiative ...
22
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
522 views

Black Body Golf Balls

The surface of a golf ball has about 35% more surface area (than a similar sphere) due to its dimples. So my question is simple, given identical radius, ideal black body material, and temperature: ...
20
votes
2answers
644 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
434 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

How does the concept of a “black body” make any sense?

In my introductory chemistry class, we are learning about the basics of quantum mechanics. We were introduced to the concept of emission and absorption spectra. Our textbook describes how electrons ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
14
votes
9answers
6k views

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 ...
14
votes
5answers
2k 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
votes
8answers
672 views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
311 views

Will Neil Armstrong's moon boot marks really last for thousands of years?

This question concerns the residual heat (if any) contained within the Earth's moon. At the time of the Apollo moon landings, it was widely reported that the boot marks left by the astronauts would ...
12
votes
1answer
365 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
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
10k 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
votes
1answer
555 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is pale coloured skin said to absorb more UV?

Many resources state that light skin/pale skin absorbs more UV than dark-colour skin. Doesn't black absorb maximum radiation? For an example, see this article: Natural selection therefore ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Heat Transfer From a Spaceship in Deep Space

Space is a very low temperature environment, however it also has an extremely small number of particles per unit volume. This leads me to believe that, contrary to popular portrayals of heat loss in ...
10
votes
2answers
340 views

Where did the energy released due to gravitational binding energy of the Earth go?

The gravitational binding energy of the Earth is $2×10^{32} J $, so the same amount of energy must have been released during the Earth's history. According to this and this, the current internal ...
10
votes
2answers
875 views

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 ...
9
votes
7answers
937 views

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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is frequency quantized in the black body spectrum?

I'm aware that there're some questions posted here with respect to this subject on this site, but I still want to make sure, is frequency quantized? Do very fine discontinuities exist in a continuous ...
9
votes
5answers
480 views

The strange thing about the maximum in Planck's law

I read that it makes a difference whether you calculate $\frac{dE(\lambda) }{d \lambda}=0$ or $\frac{dE(\omega)}{d \omega}=0$ in the sense that the maximum energy density with respect to the ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is black the best emitter?

Why are emitters colored black better emitters than other colors? Why is white a worse emitter?
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
787 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
526 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
675 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
votes
6answers
20k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
361 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
120 views

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)? ...
8
votes
2answers
281 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
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What happens to a body, initially at 300K, kept in isolated space? Will it's temperature drop to 0k?

With regards to Thermal Radiation, given a stable body initially at 300 Kelvin placed in isolation, after continuous Thermal Radiation will it's temperature gradually reduce to 0 kelvin ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
329 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
votes
1answer
236 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?
7
votes
2answers
505 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
2k 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
1k 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
5answers
985 views

What exactly is fire? [duplicate]

What is fire? Is it a wave or is it matter? Where does fire come from? Does everything burn with fire? (for example: water and some metals don't burn).
6
votes
2answers
586 views

How is a blackbody spectrum formed in the Sun?

Sunlight can be treated as BB radiation. Why is it a continuous spectrum while the sun contains only a few elements and the radiation from the jumps between atomic levels are discrete? How does the ...