# Is a black body sphere inside a black body shell hotter than the shell?

I am missing something very basic here. Let us assume the shell is at a fixed temperature T by a power generator. The sphere inside will radiate the same power it absorbs. The power radiated by the shell will be $4 \pi \sigma T_{shell}^4 R_{shell}^2$ and will be the same as that absorbed by the smaller sphere and radiated out, which should be $4 \pi\sigma T_{sphere}^4 R_{sphere}^2$, so the sphere should be hotter.

But wouldn't this violate the second law? Isn't this set up equivalent to a closed universe in thermal equilibrium in which the shell can only radiate inwards?

Not all the radiation from the outer shell reaches the inner shell. When you take into account the intensity distribution of radiation from the outer shell (Lambertian distribution, i.e. $\propto\cos\theta$) you will see that the amount of radiation for the inner to the outer shell is the same as in the other direction.