Planck Radiation Laws (Archived Version)

Robert Mackay, Clark College

In this Plank's Radiation exercise, students use an existing Excel workbook to investigate how spectral irradiance from a blackbody radiator depends on temperature, and to clearly see the connection between Planck's Radiation law, and the Stefan-Boltzman and Wien Radiation laws. Students adjust the solar temperature to get the best fit between observations and the spectral irradiance calculated from Planck's Radiation Law for a blackbody radiator. Two sets of observational based solar spectral irradiance are included for comparison. This exercise is useful in a variety of introductory Earth Science courses. The Starting Point site also includes teaching notes and tips, teaching materials, assessment idea and additional resources on the subject. This activity is part of the Starting Point Collection:

Part of the Starting Point collection. The Starting Point collection includes resources addressing the needs of faculty and graduate students designing, developing, and delivering entry-level undergraduate courses in geoscience.

Starting Point
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Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
Topics: Atmosphere, Climate