Correlated Color Temperature, CCT


IESNA Definition: the absolute temperature of a blackbody whose chromaticity most nearly resembles that of the light source.

The correlated color temperature (CCT) is a specification of the color appearance of the light emitted by a lamp, relating its color to the color of light from a reference source when heated to a particular temperature, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The CCT rating for a lamp is a general "warmth" or "coolness" measure of its appearance. However, opposite to the temperature scale, lamps with a CCT rating below 3200 K are usually considered "warm" sources, while those with a CCT above 4000 K are usually considered "cool" in appearance.

The correlated color temperature (CCT) designation for a light source gives a good indication of the lamp's general appearance, but does not give information on its specific spectral power distribution. Therefore, two lamps may appear to be the same color, but their effects on object colors can be quite different. Examples of the CCT of some common light sources are:

Source CCT
Tungsten Halogen 3000 K
"Cool White" Linear Fluorescent 4200 K
High Pressure Sodium 1900 K
"Warm" Compact Fluorescent 2700 K
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Glossary Terms: blackbody, chromaticity, IESNA