chapter  4
20 Pages

Color Temperature and the Kelvin Scale

OUR SUN: A CONTINUOUS SPECTRUM SOURCE Our sun radiates “white” light, which is a continuous spectrum of all the visible wavelengths that are produced by the elements burning on the sun’s surface. As these wavelengths are separated out by absorption and reection, we see them as color. e shortest visible wavelengths appear as violet, the longest as red, and all other colors fall somewhere between these boundaries. In total, the human eye detects only a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the portion known as the visual spectrum. Just beyond the blue-violet end of the visual spectrum lie the ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths that are too short to be seen by the human eye. In the other direction, just past the visible red portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, are the infrared (IR) wavelengths that are too long for humans to see.