Change the temperature

You can use this applet to draw a thermal radiation curve for an object at any temperature. Click one of the buttons above to draw a curve for a pre-selected temperature, or enter another temperature in the text box above and click Enter. The applet will automatically draw the thermal radiation curve for the chosen temperature.

You can also set the curve's peak wavelength by clicking and dragging the curve. The peak wavelength will appear on the yellow box at the bottom left, expressed in nanometers (1 nm = 10 Angstroms = 10-9 m). The temperature for that curve will show up on the left.

The curve does not change height as the temperature increases, but the scale of intensity changes.

The colors displayed in the applet do not accurately represent the visible spectrum; they are a simulation using red, green, and blue. The colored circles on the left represent the percent of each color present in the curve, and show a simulation of the total color of the object.

Here is the very complicated equation that determines the thermal radiation curve.

Applet written by Dr. Wolfgang Christian
Courtesy of Physlets, Davidson College.