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Blackbody Curves & UBV Filters Lab — Instructor Resources


The NAAP Blackbody Curves & UBV Filters Lab pedagogical objectives want students to understand the basic nature of blackbody curves and how color can be used to describe a blackbody curve. To emphasize the latter point students are exposed to the concept of filters and that varying amounts of light at different wavelengths alter our human perception of color.


Course Integration

The Blackbody and UBV Filters Lab is designed to be introduced along with telescopes or before stars. However, the lab functions well if introduced after stellar structure. In such a scenario it should reinfonce the concept of a blackbody. Because of the more abstract nature of some of the material such as a “blackbody” and filters, this lab should be approached as a more advanced topic if used in it's entirety. At the discretion of the instructor, filtered light can be omitted.


  • The specific color seen on the monitor will depend in part on the color settings of the monitor and does not correspond exactly to the colors seen by the eye.
  • The filters module uses color theory to calculate the RGB values of the color to show on the monitor. However, the human eye has a range of color vision which extends beyond the capabilities of RGB.
  • Brightness/intensity plays a role in the perception of color. For example, a very, very bright yellow light source will saturate the eye and appear white. Brightness effects are only approximated by the simulator in a very limited manner.
  • Polorization effects are not included in the filters. Polarization, however, is a very useful optics tool.