I'm trying to start understanding quantum mechanics, and the first thing I've come across that needs to be understood are black bodies. But I've hit a roadblock at the very first paragraphs. :( According toWikipedia: A black body (also, blackbody) is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation, regardless of frequency or angle of incidence. OK, that's nice. It's an object that absorbs (takes in itself and stores/annihilates forever) any electromagnetic radiation that happens to hit it. An object that always looks totally black, no matter under what light you view it. Good. But then it follows with: A black body in thermal equilibrium (that is, at a constant temperature) emits electromagnetic radiation called black-body radiation. Say what? Which part of "absorbs" does this go with? How can it absorb anything if it just spits it right back out, even if modified? That's not a black body, that's a pretty white body if you ask me. Or a colored one, depending on how it transforms the incoming waves. What am I missing here?