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The Stefan–Boltzmann law, also known as Stefan's law, describes the power radiated from a black body in terms of its temperature. Specifically, the Stefan–Boltzmann law states that the total energy radiated per unit surface area of a black body across all wavelengths per unit time (also known as the blackbody radiant exitance or emissive power), , is directly proportional to the fourth power of the black body's thermodynamic temperature T:
To find the total power radiated from an object, multiply by its surface area, :
History
The law was deduced by Josef Stefan (1835–1893) in 1879 on the basis of experimental measurements made by John Tyndall and was derived from theoretical considerations, using thermodynamics, by Ludwig Boltzmann (1844–1906) in 1884. Boltzmann considered a certain ideal heat engine with light as a working matter instead of gas. The law is highly accurate only for ideal black objects, the perfect radiators, called black bodies; it works as a good approximation for most "grey" bodies. Stefan published this law in the article Über die Beziehung zwischen der Wärmestrahlung und der Temperatur (On the relationship between thermal radiation and temperature) in the Bulletins from the sessions of the Vienna Academy of Sciences.Examples
Temperature of the Sun
With his law Stefan also determined the temperature of the Sun's surface. He learned from the data of Charles Soret (1854–1904) that the energy flux density from the Sun is 29 times greater than the energy flux density of a certain warmed metal lamella (a thin plate). A round lamella was placed at such a distance from the measuring device that it would be seen at the same angle as the Sun. Soret estimated the temperature of the lamella to be approximately 1900 °C to 2000 °C. Stefan surmised that ⅓ of the energy flux from the Sun is absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, so he took for the correct Sun's energy flux a value 3/2 times greater than Soret's value, namely 29 × 3/2 = 43.5.Precise measurements of atmospheric absorption were not made until 1888 and 1904. The temperature Stefan obtained was a median value of previous ones, 1950 °C and the absolute thermodynamic one 2200 K. As 2.57^{4} = 43.5, it follows from the law that the temperature of the Sun is 2.57 times greater than the temperature of the lamella, so Stefan got a value of 5430 °C or 5700 K (the modern value is 5778 K^{[3]}). This was the first sensible value for the temperature of the Sun. Before this, values ranging from as low as 1800 °C to as high as 13,000,000 °C were claimed. The lower value of 1800 °C was determined by Claude Servais Mathias Pouillet (1790–1868) in 1838 using the DulongPetit law. Pouillet also took just half the value of the Sun's correct energy flux.
Temperature of stars
The temperature of stars other than the Sun can be approximated using a similar means by treating the emitted energy as a black body radiation.^{[4]} So:With the Stefan–Boltzmann law, astronomers can easily infer the radii of stars. The law is also met in the thermodynamics of black holes in socalled Hawking radiation.
Temperature of the Earth
Similarly we can calculate the effective temperature of the Earth T_{E} by equating the energy received from the Sun and the energy radiated by the Earth, under the blackbody approximation. The amount of power, E_{S}, emitted by the Sun is given by:The Earth has an albedo of 0.3, meaning that 30% of the solar radiation that hits the planet gets scattered back into space without absorption. The effect of albedo on temperature can be approximated by assuming that the energy absorbed is multiplied by 0.3, but that the planet still radiates as a black body (the latter by definition of effective temperature, which is what we are calculating). This approximation reduces the temperature by a factor of 0.7^{1/4}, giving 255 K (−18 °C).^{[5]}^{[6]}
However, longwave radiation from the surface of the earth is partially absorbed and reradiated back down by greenhouse gases, namely water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane.^{[7]}^{[8]} Since the emissivity with greenhouse effect (weighted more in the longer wavelengths where the Earth radiates) is reduced more than the absorptivity (weighted more in the shorter wavelengths of the Sun's radiation) is reduced, the equilibrium temperature is higher than the simple blackbody calculation estimates. As a result, the Earth's actual average surface temperature is about 288 K (15 °C), which is higher than the 255 K effective temperature, and even higher than the 279 K temperature that a black body would have.
Origination
Thermodynamic derivation of the energy density
^{}The fact that the energy density of the box containing radiation is proportional to can be derived using thermodynamics. It follows from the Maxwell stress tensor of classical electrodynamics that the radiation pressure is related to the internal energy density :
.
From the fundamental thermodynamic relation
,
we obtain the following expression, after dividing by and fixing :
.
The last equality comes from the following Maxwell relation:
.
From the definition of energy density it follows that
where the energy density of radiation only depends on the temperature, therefore
.
Now, the equality
,
after substitution of and for the corresponding expressions, can be written as
.
Since the partial derivative can be expressed as a relationship between only and (if one isolates it on one side of the equality), the partial derivative can be replaced by the ordinary derivative. After separating the differentials the equality becomes
,
which leads immediately to , with as some constant of integration.
Stefan–Boltzmann's law in ndimensional space[edit]
It can be shown that the radiation pressure in dimensional space is given by^{[10]}So in dimensional space,
 ^{[11]}
Derivation from Planck's law
The law can be derived by considering a small flat black body surface radiating out into a halfsphere. This derivation uses spherical coordinates, with φ as the zenith angle and θ as the azimuthal angle; and the small flat blackbody surface lies on the xyplane, where φ = ^{π}/_{2}.The intensity of the light emitted from the blackbody surface is given by Planck's law :

 where
 is the amount of power per unit surface area per unit solid angle per unit frequency emitted at a frequency by a black body at temperature T.
 is Planck's constant
 is the speed of light, and
 is Boltzmann's constant.
The Stefan–Boltzmann law gives the power emitted per unit area of the emitting body,