Describe the spectrum of the light from a fluorescent lamp and from an incandescent (tungsten filament) lamp, and try to explain what you observe.

So fluorescent lamps use electricity to excite mercury vapour, and the excited atoms produce short-wave UV light which causes a phosphor (from the phosphorescent coating) to fluoresce, producing visible light.

Incandescent light bulbs use electric current to flow through a tungsten wire which gets heated to the point where it begins to emit thermal radiation.. but I'm not exactly sure how this gets transmitted into visible light?

Can someone please help me out with these explanations? Maybe explain the specific emission spectra of each type of light and why it produces the light it does? I'm confused. And the explanations online are getting really complex

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asked by Jon
  1. The fluorescent light sounds good to me. You started the W light great, too, but tailed off. The W wire is heated to incandescence (hence the name?) and it emits what appears to be white light if one looks at it; however, it is a continuous spectrum running from very little in the violet, more in the green and red and a rather large amount of infrared radiation. It is visible light because the W wire glows so brightly it actually is visible light. Look at a W bulb and you will see how bright it is. I suggest a small wattage bulb. I have some night lights in my bathroom that are 4 watts and you can see the glow and the color.

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    posted by DrBob222

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