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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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GC04:

Measuring the Temperature of a Star from Its Continuous Spectrum
  Location: HC 3029
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 2:10 PM -2:20 PM
  Author: John Shaw, Northwest Missouri State University
660-562-1636, jshaw@nwmissouri.edu
  Co-Author(s): David Richardson
  Abstract: One way to measure the surface temperature of a star is to measure the ratio of intensities of light through a blue filter compared to a green filter. Assuming the star behaves as an ideal blackbody, Planck's formula can be used to calculate the temperature at the surface of the star. A similar activity can be done in the laboratory by measuring the intensities of light from an incandescent light bulb through infrared, red, green, and blue filters. The students can use the ratio of two of these as a way of determining the temperature of the tungsten filament of the light bulb. A spreadsheet is used to illustrate the predictions of the spectra of a blackbody at different temperatures from Planck's formula.
  Footnotes: None
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