In physics, one considers an ideal black body, here labeled B, defined as one that completely absorbs all of the electromagnetic radiation falling upon it at every frequency ν (hence the term "black"). According to Kirchhoff's law of thermal radiation, this entails that, for every frequency ν, at thermodynamic equilibrium at temperature T, one has αν,B(T) = εν,B(T) = 1, so that the thermal radiation from a black body is always equal to the full amount specified by Planck's law. No physical body can emit thermal radiation that exceeds that of a black body, since if it were in equilibrium with a radiation field, it would be emitting more energy than was incident upon it.
At any point in the interior of a black body located inside a cavity in thermodynamic equilibrium at temperature T the radiation is homogeneous, isotropic and unpolarized. A black body absorbs all and reflects none of the electromagnetic radiation incident upon it. According to the Helmholtz reciprocity principle, radiation from the interior of a black body is not reflected at its surface, but is fully transmitted to its exterior. Because of the isotropy of the radiation in the body's interior, the spectral radiance of radiation transmitted from its interior to its exterior through its surface is independent of direction.
Planck sent this result to Rubens, who compared it with his and Kurlbaum's observational data and found that it fitted for all wavelengths remarkably well. On 19 October 1900, Rubens and Kurlbaum briefly reported the fit to the data, and Planck added a short presentation to give a theoretical sketch to account for his formula. Within a week, Rubens and Kurlbaum gave a fuller report of their measurements confirming Planck's law. Their technique for spectral resolution of the longer wavelength radiation was called the residual ray method. The rays were repeatedly reflected from polished crystal surfaces, and the rays that made it all the way through the process were 'residual', and were of wavelengths preferentially reflected by crystals of suitably specific materials. 2b1af7f3a8