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Term: Color temperature

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Term: Color temperature

Color temperature is a simplified characterization of the visible spectral properties of a light source. It refers to the absolute temperature (in degrees Kelvin, i.e., Celsius-sized degree units above absolute zero) to which one would have to heat a theoretical "black body" source to produce light in a continuous spectrum and of a certain color. The more a light source deviates from a theoretical "black body" the poorer the model works to describe the visible characteristics of the light source, e.g., fluorescent lights that emit a discontinuous spectrum. The higher the color temperature, the more "cool" the light source is considered to be. Light sources used for specific purposes often include a reference to either their color temperature or list their standard illuminant or CIE illuminant rating.
Color temperature (Wikipedia article)
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