Color Temperature

Colour Temperature

You know how when you look at different lamps, some can have a distinctively cool blue color or a warm yellow color?  We call this the light's color temperature (CCT), and the CCT rating for a light is expressed as a temperature in Kelvin (K).  Warm candle light is about 1,900K and a brilliantly lit blue sky is 10,000K.

Open an Aurora Lighting catalog or browse lamps online and you'll see a "color" specification, generally ranging from warm (2700K) to neutral (4000K).  You might even find some products available in cool (6400K).

Let's pause for a moment to answer a quick question: Why is light color expressed as a temperature?

Think about the heating of a metal object.  At a high enough temperature, the object will begin to glow.  You'd notice red first.  Then, as the temperature gradually increased, the glow would change from red, to orange, yellow, green, and blue.

Take a look at that brilliantly colorful graph here, which is called a color space chromaticity diagram.  Notice the chromaticity tolerances specified in the middle, defined by the quadrangles along the upward arching line.  Notice the values: from 10,000 on the left to 1,500 on the right.

The quadrangles of this curve result in quadrants of color, which leads us directly into the topic binning and sub-binning.

Watch our "LightByte" on CTA Dimming

Color temperature in lighting relates to the perceived color of the light source, expressed in Kelvin (K) and ranging from warm white (2700K) to neutral white (4000K) to cool white (6400K).


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