Thursday, June 20, 2024

I want to know everything: radiant energy? | Science | News | the sun

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
"Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie."

Question: What does the heat of the sun’s rays represent?
– Lisa

Reply It is simply energy. Sunlight is what physicists call “electromagnetic waves” – electrical and magnetic energy that travels through space like waves on the surface of water.

There is a very simple comparison that allows you to concretely understand what it is. When you sit on the edge of a campfire you get hot, right? Well, this heat is made of the same thing as sunlight: electromagnetic waves. Some of these waves are visible to our eyes (“visible light”), some are not (infrared rays, for example), but we can feel this energy when our skin warms up.

The same applies to the sun, except that it is hotter than a campfire to the point that its visible light is not the same color; It is white while the campfire is somewhat orange.

To be honest, the sun is so hot that part of its electromagnetic waves – ultraviolet rays – are dangerous to skin, as they cause the famous “sunburn”. No edge on fire to risk getting sunburned!

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