The spectrum of reflected light from a planet question.

In summary, when calculating the brightness of a planet relative to a star, you account for the reflected light of the planet. The reflected light and the emitted differ by a factor of albedo, so you can use the Stefan-Boltzmann law to approximate the brightness.
  • #1
BERGXK
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Is the spectrum of reflected light of a planet the same as the spectrum of the star near it but just less in magnitude? Like when you do B(Lambda;T) for it you just multiply that answer by the albedo?
 
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  • #2
No it depends on the surface of the planet and the atmosphere (if any)
eg. Mars and Jupiter appear a lot redder than the sun.

A rocky object like the moon is 'grey' to a first approximation so you can just use the albedo.
 
  • #3
Thanks for the quick reply. I still don't quite get it though. Plancks Spectrum gives an intensity of light at a certain wavelength and temperature right? For a star you can chose the wavelength and calculate the temperature if you assume the star is a blackbody. But how would you do this for a planet? The planet has both emitted and reflected light contributing to its Planck spectrum.

I have a problem on my HW that asks me to compute the brightness of the planet relative to the star at certain wavelenghs 450nm 700nm and 2.2um. It asks me to consider both the starlight reflected off the planet and the backbody light emitted from the planet. When i first started this problem I just did B(lambda;Temp of planet)/B(lambda;Temp of star) for all the wavelengths and compared to see what was higher in each case. But this doesn't take into account the reflected light of the planet right? The reflected light and the emitted differ by a factor of albedo and 1-albedo. So my question is can i just do
((B(lambda;Temp of planet)*(1-a)) * (B(lambda;Temp of star)*a)) / B(lambda;Temp of star) to compare total brightness of planet to that of the star?
 
  • #4
The blackbody emission from a planet at 300K with a radius of 3000km is pretty insignificant compared to a star at 6000K with a radius of 700,000Km. You can use the Stefan–Boltzmann law to work it out. At the short wavelengths you are given the planet emits hardly anything.

To a simple approximation you can then work out from the solid angle, the fraction of the solar radiation hitting the planet and assume some albedo. You can also approximate the planet to a 2d disc facing the sun.

I was trying to explain why some planets are coloured due to the rock on their surface or the gases in their atmosphere.
 

What is the spectrum of reflected light from a planet?

The spectrum of reflected light from a planet refers to the range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that is reflected off the surface of a planet and detected by a telescope or other instrument. It contains information about the composition and physical properties of the planet.

What factors influence the spectrum of reflected light from a planet?

The spectrum of reflected light from a planet is influenced by factors such as the planet's composition, temperature, and atmosphere. Different materials reflect different wavelengths of light, and the temperature and atmosphere can affect how much light is reflected and at what wavelengths.

How is the spectrum of reflected light from a planet measured?

The spectrum of reflected light from a planet is measured using spectroscopy, which involves breaking down the light into its component wavelengths and measuring their intensity. This can be done using specialized instruments such as spectrometers, which can be attached to telescopes or spacecraft.

What can the spectrum of reflected light from a planet tell us?

The spectrum of reflected light from a planet can provide valuable information about the planet's composition, temperature, and atmospheric conditions. By analyzing the different wavelengths of light that are reflected, scientists can determine the types of materials present on the planet's surface and in its atmosphere, as well as their relative amounts.

Why is studying the spectrum of reflected light from planets important?

Studying the spectrum of reflected light from planets is important because it allows us to learn more about the properties and characteristics of these distant worlds. This information can help us understand the origins and evolution of planets, as well as search for signs of life on other planets by looking for specific chemical signatures in the reflected light.

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