Radiant energy, the energy carried by electromagnetic waves, can be transmitted through any number of media, including visible light, gamma rays, radio waves, x-rays, infrared waves and ultraviolet waves. The energy emitted from the sun is an example of thermal radiation, which is also a type of radiant energy.
Radiant energy is transmitted through all of the different types of electromagnetic waves. These waves range from radio waves, which have the lowest frequency and longest wavelength, to gamma rays, which have the highest frequency and shortest wavelength. Radiant energy is carried by massless electromagnetic particles called photons. Quantum field theory unites the seemingly paradoxical concept that electromagnetic radiation, and thus radiant energy, can be carried by both particles and waves simultaneously.
When electromagnetic waves and radiant energy come into contact with an object, they are absorbed and become heat. Radiant energy from the sun generally enters the Earth's atmosphere as high frequency waves, striking the earth's surface and heating the planet. The nuclear fusion reaction of the sun creates its radiant energy.
Radiant energy is used by people to produce radiant heat. Energy is obtained and used for heating water, either from sunlight or infrared lamp technology. Radiant energy heats objects, rather than the air, and is thus different from more conventional heating methods.Learn More
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