Q:

What is light energy?

A:

Quick Answer

Light energy is a type of kinetic energy with the ability to form types of light people can see as well as invisible waves. Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, and hot objects, such as light bulbs, the sun and lasers, emit it.

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What is light energy?
Credit: Martin Fisch CC-BY-SA 2.0

Full Answer

Light consists of photons, which are essentially tiny packets of energy. When an object's atoms heat up, this results in the production of photons and is how photon production occurs in most cases. The electrons in atoms find excitement from the heat, which results in them earning extra energy. The release of this energy is in the form of a photon, and more photons come out as the object gets hotter.

When light travels, it is in the form of a wave. However, no material or matter is necessary to carry the energy along for the ride. Because of this, light can travel through a space that has no air. This differs from sound waves because they have to pass through a liquid, a solid or a gas. Light energy is very fast, and nothing travels faster. When traveling through a vacuum, the speed of light is equal to 186,282 miles, or almost 300,000 kilometers, per second.

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