Star Temperatures

Stars approximate blackbody radiators and their visible color depends upon the temperature of the radiator. The curves show blue, white, and red stars. The white star is adjusted to 5270K so that the peak of its blackbody curve is at the peak wavelength of the sun, 550 nm. From the wavelength at the peak, the temperature can be deduced from the Wien displacement law.

Star classification

Index

Blackbody radiation concepts
 
HyperPhysics***** Quantum Physics R Nave
Go Back





Wien's Displacement Law

When the temperature of a blackbody radiator increases, the overall radiated energy increases and the peak of the radiation curve moves to shorter wavelengths. When the maximum is evaluated from the Planck radiation formula, the product of the peak wavelength and the temperature is found to be a constant.
Calculation
This relationship is called Wien's displacement law and is useful for the determining the temperatures of hot radiant objects such as stars, and indeed for a determination of the temperature of any radiant object whose temperature is far above that of its surroundings.

Development of relationship

Intensity as a function of temperature and wavelength

Index

Blackbody radiation concepts
 
HyperPhysics***** Quantum Physics R Nave
Go Back





Wien's Displacement Law

For a blackbody radiator, the temperature can be found from the wavelength at which the radiation curve peaks.
Discussion
If the temperature is = C = K, then the wavelength at which the radiation curve peaks is:
=x10^m = nm = microns.


This wavelength corresponds to x 10^ eV.
Electromagnetic SpectrumPhoton Quantum Energy
Index

Blackbody radiation concepts
 
HyperPhysics***** Quantum Physics R Nave
Go Back





Radiation Curves


The wavelength of the peak of the blackbody radiation curve decreases in a linear fashion as the temperature is increased (Wien's displacement law). This linear variation is not evident in this kind of plot since the intensity increases with the fourth power of the temperature (Stefan- Boltzmann law). The nature of the peak wavelength change is made more evident by plotting the fourth root of the intensity.
Index

Blackbody radiation concepts
 
HyperPhysics***** Quantum Physics R Nave
Go Back





Radiation Curves


The wavelength of the peak of the blackbody radiation curve decreases with increasing temperature according to Wien's displacement law. The fourth root of the intensity shows the variation of the wavelength more clearly than the plot of the full radiated intensity.
Index

Blackbody radiation concepts
 
HyperPhysics***** Quantum Physics R Nave
Go Back