Origin and Propagation of Electromagnetic Radiation
What creates visible light? In other words, what in the
sun, or a light-bulb causes light to come into existence? What
initiates it? And is the initiation (creation) of it the same thing
that propels it? Is the answer for visible light the same for all
electromagnetic radiation? Your feedback would be much appreciated.
Many things can create visible light, but they are most often forms of
electric charge losing energy. Light can often be described as a blend
of electric and magnetic fields. The vibrational motion of electric
charges can produce such a thing. In an incandescent light bulb, very
hot electrons vibrate very fast. This is what "white-hot" refers to.
Florescent bulbs have fast electrons crashing into the neon atoms in the
bulb. This boosts electrons within the atoms to higher energy levels,
faster vibrations. When they lose this extra energy, it comes out as
Star light comes from interacting protons rather than electrons. The
fast protons join together to form hydrogen and then helium. They can
later join to form heavier atoms. When they join, energy is lost as
light. To pull these helium atoms apart, this energy must be put back.
This is why small atoms seldom break apart into smaller atoms.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012