A-Z of Lighting: Part 3

We count down from K to O in our third installment of A-Z of Lighting.

K is for

KelvinKelvin relates to the colour temperature of a light.  The higher the Kelvin output the closer to the colour of the sun it will be, although this doesn't affect heat output or the colour rendering of objects.  Higher Kelvin outputs have more blue tones whereas lower are more yellow.


L is for


Light Emitting Diodes or LEDs are lights which produce light through a semi-conductor that emits light when an electrical current is passed through.  These are really energy efficient, long lasting and are at the forefront of the technological advances being made in lighting.


Often called light bulbs, this is the replaceable part that produces light from electricity.


These are the measurement of the total amount of visible light being produced.  The higher the lumens, the brighter the lamp.


This is the standard unit of measurement of the light intensity.  1 lux is equal to the illumination of a surface from a candle 1 metre away.  This is also equivalent to moonlight.  Outdoor average sunlight is around 32,000 to 100,000 lux.

7__31943.1382976515.220.220 A round Bell LED bulb

M is for

Moser Lamps-

These are non-traditional lamps.  Use a transparent 1.5-2 litre bottle, fill it with water, add a little bleach so algae doesn't grow, and fit it into a hole in the roof.  In sunlight, the light will refract through the bottle and water to produce a light similar to that of a 40 or 60 watt bulb.


This is a gas discharge lamp which uses an electric arc through vapourised mercury to produce light.


These operate the same as mercury-vapour lamps but with metal halides along with the mercury.  These are being replaced for more environmentally friendly models.

water2 An example of a Moser Lamp in action

N is for


These are a type of cold cathode gas-discharge lamps. Although originally named Neon lights after the neon inside, which was used to produce an orange colour fluorescence,  other gases such as hydrogen can be used to produce other colours.

300-neonsign A very familiar neon sign

O is for


Optics is a branch of physics dedicated to studying the behaviour and properties of light, including interaction with objects and the instruments of that use or detect it.

137698-004-B67630A3 Fibre Optics is one clever way of using light for things other than just light.

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