I'm glowing like a lightbulb, or a star, or a stone. And you are too. That's why heat vision cameras can pick you up, you're glowing in a part of the spectrum that we can't see. Most all objects do, and their temperature determines what colors and at what intensity they glow at. A toaster coil and an orange star have more in common than you think.

If you hold your palm about a centimeter above your opposing wrist you can even feel this radiation glow.

It is worth noting that smooth blackbody curves are hard to come by, especially in astronomy. Gas and plasma in solar atmospheres or in space can absorb and re-emit specific spectra depending on the element or molecule in question.

A prominent exception is almost all the lights we use in our homes these days. They look white without being hot because they're using non-thermal methods to produce photons, and in some cases they also use phosphors to absorb the light and re-emit it at more useful wavelengths.

@anne This is true, I actually considered this before posting but thought that "light bulb" would specify it more as a filament lightbulb. That distinction is important though and really paints the difference in efficiency between emission vs thermal light sources in our daily lives.

@starwall Well and as a radio/X-ray/gamma-ray astronomer the idea that most things are black bodies offended me :). Even stars in the visible have very important absorption/emission lines

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Radical Town

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