the quantity of visible light that is emitted in unit time per unit solid angle. The unit for the quantity of light flowing from a source in any one second (the luminous power, or luminous flux) is called the lumen. The lumen is evaluated with reference to visual sensation. The sensitivity of the human eye is greatest for light having a wavelength of 555 nanometres (10-9 metre); at this wavelength there are 685 lumens per watt of radiant power, or radiant flux (the luminous efficiency), whereas at other wavelengths the luminous efficiency is less. The unit of luminous intensity is one lumen per steradian, which is the unit of solid angle-there are 4pi steradians about a point enclosed by a spherical surface. This unit of luminous intensity is also called the standard candle, or candela, one lumen per steradian.
Learn more about light intensity with a free trial on Britannica.com.