What Does the Spectrum of a Star Tell Us about Its Temperature?
ES2803  Peak Emission Wavelength and Temperature
Larry Kendall

The colors of stars are directly related to their temperatures. From coolest to hottest, stars appear red, orange, yellow, white, and blue.

The peak emission wavelength determines a star's color, and color indicates temperature, so the peak emission wavelength is directly related to a star's temperature. This image shows how peak emission wavelengths indicate temperature for the four standard stars. Notice that the brightest color in the visible spectrum corresponds to the peak emission wavelength.

5. Record the temperature indicated by peak emission wavelength for each of the four standard stars.


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