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How does a IR thermometer work?

  1. Jul 1, 2011 #1
    was just wondering...

    Do IR thermometers measure the temperature of an object via the intensity or wavelengths of emitted light?

    I've heard that you can measure the temperature of clouds with them, why doesn't the IR light emitted by the air in between the cloud and the detector confuse it?

    [**I've heard this can damage them] What happens you point one at the sun? or an old fashioned light bulb? (is it not sensitive to visible black body radiation)?

    (hopefull those make sense) thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 1, 2011 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF.

    Wikipedia has an intro article:


  4. Jul 2, 2011 #3
    hi, thanks I already had a look on there and couldn't find the info I was after
  5. Jul 2, 2011 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    They measure the wavelength....and air is transparent to ir.
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