I am trying to graphically show the radiance emissions of both the Sun and Earth. I am using NASA's radiance calculator then going to graph it on paper.

Here is what I typed in:

Low wavelength: 0.1μm

high wavelength: 100.0μm

Plot 1:

Temp: 5778k <- for the sun's avg temp

Emissivity: 1.00 <- was unsure what this was for

Plot 2:

Temp: 274.03 <- for the Earth's avg temp


x-axis scale: log

y-axis scale: log

Here is what that all looks like: enter image description here

As far as making a plot of the emitted energy of the Sun and the emitted energy of Earth on the same graph does this look correct? How might one annotate/label the curves to show where the peak emission occurs?

Should the x or y axis be dialed down they are between 0.1 to 100.0 and then the y-axis sale 0.01 to 10.000

I appears that the Suns peak emission is between 0.32 - 10.00microns and the Earth is 10.00microns.

Thank you


1 Answer 1


The graph looks correct, and after having a look at the NASA/USGS Radiance calculator, it seem that curves can't be annotated. However, below the plot there is a button to download the source data of the plot as a comma separated file (CSV), that you can open in Excel or any spreadsheet manager program and plot it with annotations and all the customization you want.

For the wavelength of the peak in emission you don't have to look further than the box below the graph titled "Wavelength of Maximum Radiance", which for the Sun should say something like 0.52 micrometers as in the screenshot below:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Hey thanks so much! I downloaded the CSV file but not sure how to get it to where I can label the graph. Will I need to program something in Java or python ? $\endgroup$
    – yre
    Feb 14, 2018 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ I have three columns here and so many rows. Now sure how to get it to look like the above graph. imgur.com/a/sDYNZ $\endgroup$
    – yre
    Feb 14, 2018 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ @yre You can definitely generate an annotated plot from the CSV file using Java or Python, but unless you are familiar with those it would be a bit of an overkill. I would recommend to look a tutorial on LibreOffice Calc, OpenOffice Calc or Excel. Those are more intuitive to deal with data tables and to generate plots. If you still have trouble, those doubts will be better answer somewhere else as they are not really Earth Science but just software usage and data analysis. Perhaps the Stack Exchange for software recommendations can be a good start. $\endgroup$ Feb 14, 2018 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! I showed an image of the CSV on excel. Is there a way to generate a graph just like the one above? I think I could figure out how to get the labels and such right. It's just doing this through excel I am unsure of. $\endgroup$
    – yre
    Feb 14, 2018 at 17:33

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