The color temperature of a light source is the temperature of an ideal black-body radiator that radiates light of comparable hue to that of the light source. Color temperature is a characteristic of visible light that has important applications in lighting, photography, videography, publishing, manufacturing, astrophysics, horticulture, and other fields. In practice, color temperature is only meaningful for light sources that do in fact correspond somewhat closely to the radiation of some black body, i.e., those on a line from reddish/orange via yellow and more or less white to blueish white; it does not make sense to speak of the color temperature of, e.g., a green or a purple light. Color temperature is conventionally expressed in Kelvin, using the symbol K, a unit of measure for temperature based on the Kelvin scale.
Color temperatures over 5,000K are called cool colors (bluish white), while lower color temperatures (2,700–3,000 K) are called warm colors (yellowish white through red). This relation, however, is a psychological one in contrast to the physical relation implied by Wien's displacement law, according to which the spectral peak is shifted towards shorter wavelengths (resulting in a more blueish white) for higher temperatures.
|1700k||Match flame, low pressure sodium lamps (LPS/SOX)|
|1850k||Candle flame, sunset/sunrise|
|2400K||Standard incandescent lamps|
|2550K||Soft white incandescent lamps|
|2700K||"Soft white" compact fluorescent and LED lamps|
|3000K||Warm white compact fluorescent and LED lamps|
|3200K||Studio lamps, photofloods, etc.|
|3350K||Studio "CP" light|
|5000K||Tubular fluorescent lamps or|
|5000K||cool white/daylight compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)|
|5500-6000K||Vertical daylight, electronic flash|
|6200K||Xenon short-arc lamp|
|6500K-9500K||LCD or CRT screen|
|15000-27000K||Clear blue poleward sky|