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Blackbody Radiation

Temperature Dependence of the Light Output vs. Wavelength Graph Go to the website – http://www.mi.infm.it/manini/dida/BlackBody.html This is a Java applet which shows a graph of light output vs. wavelength for an object. The slider at the bottom of the applet allows you to control the object’s temperature. The number to the right of the slider is the temperature in Kelvin. Move the slider back and forth and observe what happens to the graph of light output vs. wavelength. Bands of colors show where the wavelengths of visible light are. The smallest wavelength shown on the graph is 0 m and the largest wavelength displayed is 1.00×10−6 m which is in the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. To the left of the graph is a frame with four colored circles. The top three circles give an indication of how much red(R), green(G), and blue(B) light is being emitted by the object. The fourth circle (Appearance) shows what color the object would actually appear given the fact that all of the emitted colors would be mixed together. Play with this a little bit to see how it works. 1) Set the slider to the temperature of the human body (about 300 Kelvin). What wavelengths of light does the object emit?

Would you be able to see any of the light this 300 K object emits? Would you be able to see the emitted light with an infrared camera?

2) Now increase the object’s temperature to 1500 Kelvin. What wavelengths of light are emitted by the object now?

How does the amount of infrared light emitted compare to the amount of visible red light emitted?

Explain why the object appears red in color.

5) As you increase the temperature with the slider. Explain why this is.000 Kelvin. . explain how the peak wavelength changes? Do not close the simulation you have been using. we never see it as being green. Even though the object emits green light. Notice that as the temperature increases. Explain why the object appears blue in color. explain how the peak wavelength changes? 6) As you decrease the temperature with the slider. Simply minimize it so that you can come back to it a little later in the lab. then to yellow.3) Now increase the object’s temperature to 5000 Kelvin. then to white. This is about the temperature of a light bulb filament. 4) Now increase the object’s temperature to 10. the appearance of the object goes from red to orange. What wavelengths of light are emitted by the object now? Explain why the object appears white in color. and finally to blue.

then select the “Blackbody Curves (NAAP)” simulation. Note also that each tick mark represents 100 nm. a) Check the “auto scale all curves” option and change the temperature of one curve. 1000 nm = 1 m . 4) Learn the “vertical scale” options. b) Change the temperature slider.edu/classaction/light.unl. c) Check the “lock scales” option and change the temperature of one curve. Have two curves in the window. 5) Learn the “horizontal scale” options.Relationship between Peak Wavelength and Temperature 1) Go to the following website: http://astro. a) Click the “add curve” button one or more times. a) Select the “Horizontal Scale” tab. Learn how to add and remove curves and change their temperatures. Note how changing the rightmost limit change the view.html 2) At the bottom left. click on the “Animations” tab. b) Check the “auto scale to selected curve” option and change the temperature of one curve. d) Remove all but two curves. c) Select another curve (click on the curve’s information in the table at right) and change the temperature of this curve. The other unit you see on the scale is micrometers (m). 3) Take a few minutes to learn how the features of this simulation work.

× Peak Wavelength (nm-K) 2.898×106 d) Note that the temperature times the peak wavelength always gives the same number. Formulate a general rule (one or two sentences) that explains how the peak wavelength changes as the temperatures changes. What do you notice about these numbers? Temperature (K) 3000 3500 4000 4500 Peak Wavelength (nm) 965. c) Now.9 Temp. 4500 K. At what wavelength does the peak of this spectrum occur? Note that this wavelength is recorded in the table below. Adjust their temperatures to the following values: 3000 K. The first one has been done for you.6) Now create four curves that all show at the same time. b) Repeat for the other curves and fill in the peak wavelength values in the table. How could you use this fact to predict the peak wavelength of a blackbody spectrum for any temperature? . 3500 K. a) Click the “Indicate Peak Wavelength” option at the right of the simulation. Select the 3000 K curve. 4000 K. multiply the temperature by the peak wavelength and write this number (in scientific notation to three decimal places) in the third column of the table.

e) Use your method to predict the peak wavelength for a blackbody at a temperature of 10.000 K. look back at the rule you wrote in part 6(b) of this activity. Show your calculation below. You do not have to calculate anything to do this. f) Test your prediction with the simulator. If you need a hint. we can easily identify the peak wavelength. a) Rank these stars from hottest to coldest. Use what you have learned so far to calculate the surface temperatures of these stars. Record this in the table below.5 118.0 263.6 Surface Temp. (K) Color . c) Reopen the first simulation you used and figure out what color each of these stars would appear by moving the slider to the right temperature. Was it close? What you have discovered is known as Wien’s Law. How could this possibly be useful? Read on! 7) When we look at the spectrum of light coming from a star. Put this in the table as well. The peak wavelengths for the spectra of a few stars are listed in the table below. Star Name Betelgeuse Rigel Sirius B Peak Wavelength (nm) 828. It says that the product of the temperature of a blackbody and the peak wavelength of the spectrum is always the same number. b) Now.

e. E Energy Output D Microwave Energy Output Gamma Ray Gamma Ray Microwave X-ray Violet Blue X-ray Red Violet Blue Radio Red Green Orange Green Yellow Infrared Yellow Ultraviolet Energy Output F Gamma Ray Microwave X-ray Violet Blue Red Green Orange Radio Yellow Ultraviolet Infrared Wavelength 1) Which of these objects (D. and F. shade in the area under the curves for objects D. Consider the graphs shown below for the objects D. We can determine something about the luminosity of an object by looking at its light output vs. With your pen or pencil.F) from lowest luminosity to highest luminosity. Explain your reasoning. E.Luminosity and the Light Output vs. wavelength graph. 3) A good way to think of the above activity is that the luminosity is related to the total area under the curve on the graph of light output vs. E. The greater the area under the curve. 2) Rank the three objects (D. wavelength. Wavelength Graph The total amount of light energy emitted by any object per unit time is called the object’s luminosity.E. and F. the greater the overall light output.E. Ultraviolet Infrared Wavelength Orange Radio Wavelength . or F) is putting out the greatest total amount of light (i. which object has the greatest luminosity)? Explain how you reach your conclusion.

A is the surface area of the object.000 K curve and divide it by the area under the 5000 K curve. by what factor does the area under the curve increase? To answer this question. is proportional to the temperature of the object raised to the fourth power. When the temperature is doubled.000 5) Notice that 10. and therefore the area under its blackbody curve. is a constant. and T is the object’s temperature. In the small table at the right of the simulation you can read off the “area under curve.000 K and record the area under the curve. if you double the temperature.000 K and record the area under the curve. When the temperature is tripled.000 K is double 5000 K. Change the temperature to 10. Set the temperature of the curve to 5000 K. by what factor should the luminosity increase? . More specifically L = ×A×T4 where L is the luminosity of the object.” Record the area under the 5000 K curve in the table below. Change the temperature to 15.4) Bring up the “Blackbody Curves (NAAP)” simulation again and remove all but one curve. 7) According to the above formula. by what factor does the area under the curve increase? It is well known that the luminosity of an object.000 15.000 K is triple 5000 K. Area Under Curve (W/m2) Temperature (K) 5000 10. take the area under the 10. 6) Notice that 15.

Is this what you observed when the temperature doubled from 5000 K to 10.000 K? . by what factor should the luminosity increase? Is this what you observed when the temperature tripled from 5000 K to 15. if you triple the temperature.000 K? 8) According to the above formula.

G Energy Output H Gamma Ray Microwave X-ray Green Orange Violet Blue Red Radio Yellow Ultraviolet Infrared Wavelength a) Compare temperatures of objects G & H. G and H. Explain your reasoning. 2) Below are light output vs. Explain your reasoning. K Energy Output J Gamma Ray Microwave X-ray Green Violet Blue Orange Radio Red Yellow a) Compare temperatures of stars J & K. Explain your reasoning. b) Compare the sizes of objects G & H. wavelength graphs for two objects.Exercises 1) Below are light output vs. Ultraviolet Infrared Wavelength . wavelength graphs for two stars. J and K. Explain your reasoning. b) Compare the sizes of stars J & K.

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