Color Temperature

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Color Temperature

1. An estimate of the temperature of an incandescent body, determined by observing the wavelength at which it is emitting with peak intensity (its color) and using that wavelength in Wien law.
If such a body were an ideal black body, the temperature so estimated would be its true temperature and would also agree with its effective temperature; but for actual bodies, the color temperature is generally only an approximate value. Thus, the sun's color temperature is about 6100 K, a few hundred degrees hotter than most approximations of its effective temperature.
2. The temperature to which a black body radiator must be raised in order that the light it emits may match a given light source in color. [Usually expressed in Kelvin (K).]


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use