RSS The color temperature of light – what exactly is it?

Discussion in 'RSS Feeds' started by MASA Admin, 19 Jan 2012.

  1. MASA Admin

    MASA Admin Moderator

    8 May 2007
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    Color temperature has been*something that has been thrown around in the aquarium world for a long time when regarding light sources. You would think that after all this time, the aquarist masses would have a decent handle on what color temperature actually means, but there is still a lot of confusion about what it is, what our lamps really are in terms of accurate color temperature, and why it’s really not a good measurement of light quality. Lets start with the basics.

    To begin with, lets start with*some definitions. Color temperature relates to the color produced by an ideal*black-body radiator (more detailed reading here)*as it is heated. The color is related to the absolute temperature of the surface of the black-body radiator*measured in Kelvin (K). The lower the temperature, the more red the light appears. The higher the temperature, the bluer the color appears. This is all well and good if you have the ability to heat an object that hot, but it’s not all that practical when you are dealing with temperatures in excess of 727C (1000K).

    That’s where correlated color temperature (CCT from this point) comes in. CCT is the color temperature of a black-body radiator that has been adjusted to match the response of the human eye. This is good, seeing as we never see that kind of actual temperatures in any electric light source we use today. This also*means we don’t have to line our houses with asbestos and wear nomex suits just to have electric light, something I think we can all be glad of.
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