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Emission Spectra

  1. Apr 11, 2008 #1
    Hi,

    I have found several links using google to emission spectra of the Earth:

    http://lasp.colorado.edu/~bagenal/1010/SESSIONS/13.Light.html
    http://www.xylenepower.com/
    http://spaceguard.esa.int/NScience/n...y/emission.htm

    All of which indicate a temperature of 280K and peak clearly at around 18microns. However, Wien's displacement law indicates that the peak from thermal emission of the Earth should be at around 10 microns.

    Many of these websites are indeed specifically about Wien's law and yet these two values do not correlate at all. What is going on?

    Natski
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2008
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  3. Apr 13, 2008 #2

    Astronuc

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    How did one determine it should be 10 microns?

    This figure from the first link cited shows about 18 microns.

    http://lasp.colorado.edu/~bagenal/1010/graphics/earth_ir_emission.gif
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2008
  4. Apr 14, 2008 #3

    Chronos

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    Zealous crackpots seeking validation on the net, natski. Is a common affliction.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2008 #4

    Kurdt

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    From Wien's displacement law 280K would give a peak at about 10 microns. I don't know how they came up with that graph but the theoretical black body line should not be 280K if it peaks at 18 microns.
     
  6. Apr 14, 2008 #5

    Astronuc

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    I used the calculator here -

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/wien.html#c3

    And 280K corresponds to a wavelength of 10.35 microns - peak, but

    a peak wavelength of 18 microns correspond to 161 K.


    What's up with that?

    Does this imply that the blackbody approximation is not valid?
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2008
  7. Apr 14, 2008 #6

    Kurdt

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    This page and a couple of others I found show the peak in the correct place. All I can assume is they've taken the emission spectrum from something else and drawn the theoretical curve on and assumed it was the Earth's temperature of ~280K.
     
  8. Apr 14, 2008 #7

    Astronuc

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    Looking at the absorbtivity plot on the page cited by Kurdt in the previous post, there is a conspicuous peak at around 18 microns for CO2 and a band where absorption by water for wavelengths above 18 microns.

    The absorption in the atmosphere seems dominated by H2O with some contribution from CO2. Does this imply the emission is also dominated by H2O?
     
  9. Apr 14, 2008 #8

    Kurdt

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    I'm by no means an expert Astro, but from what I can gather it is this NASA image that they have adapted.

    http://origins.jpl.nasa.gov/habitable-planets/invest12.html

    I don't think its a true Earth spectrum but an ideal spectrum of an Earth like planet which the ESA will be looking for with projects like DARWIN and NASA with their origins project.
     
  10. Apr 15, 2008 #9
    I think the emission spectra that peaks at 18 microns is correct, despite the fact it disagrees with Wien's law. The reason for this is that my supervisor, who specializes in atmospherics, showed me the bible of atmospherics and in it the Earth spectra was also peaking at 15-18 microns, labeled as 300K. (I will post the name of the book soon, just looking for it now)

    I thought at first this could be due a doppler shift or something but these observations should not have a moving observer. The book in question makes very little reference to Wien's law however.

    Another possible explanation is that this emission temperature is the temperature of the atmosphere and not the surface. Perhaps a surface temp of 300K implies an atmospheric temp of 200K which implies an emission peak at 18 microns?

    Natski
     
  11. Apr 15, 2008 #10

    Astronuc

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    According to the emission spectrum on the page (Investigation Twelve: Detect giant planets by direct imaging, and study their properties.) cited by Kurdt, there is a peak at approximately 18 microns, and the broadening would have to do with the fact that there is a temperature distribution as well as doppler effect. Perhaps it implies that the atmosphere does not emit as a black body, since the molecules have rotational modes as well as vibrational modes (?). Ostensibly the emission is characteristic of a particular mode of a particular molecular species.
     
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