Light Wave Properties

How can an object be radiant?


Radiant energy is the energy of electromagnetic waves. The term is most commonly heard of in heating and lighting, solar energy and radiometry. Examples of radiant energy are things like the heat emitted from a fire, the sun and light fixtures. An object can have radiant energy if it has electromagnetic waves to create it. It then needs to have the ability to move those waves, making them into radiant energy.
Radiant Energy - Brightstorm Physics

Examples of Radiant Energy

Above, you will see examples of things that have radiant energy. The first picture is of the Sun. The radiant energy is clear to see by the bright parts of it. Areas where it is brighter, and often hotter, have more radiant energy. Second is a picture of a campfire fully ablaze. This shows the coals and flames giving off light. That is the radiant energy. Also, in the third picture of a lightbulb, it is turned on and is giving off light. In all of these examples, light is the radiant energy that you can see. Although all of these objects also give off heat, another type of radiant energy. Some obviously more than others.


Phenomenon: a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.

A type of phenomena is observed in perception of color and light. For example, look at the squares below. In both squares, the center square is the same grayish color. In one, it has a darker surround and the other a lighter surround. Although both smaller squares are the same color, they look darker or lighter when contrasted to a different color background.

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Blending and Reflection

Blend: (verb) to mix a substance with another so that they combine together as a mass. (noun) a mixture of different things or qualities.

Reflect: to move in one direction, hit a surface, and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction.

When all colors are blended together, they create white. Colors are reflected light.


White light is made up of all visible colors in the electromagnetic spectrum. This can be proven easily with the use of a prism. When light passes through a prism, it is refracted or bent, by the angles and plane faces of the prism. Each wavelength of light is refracted by a slightly different amount, resulting in a "fanning" out of the white light into colors of the spectrum. This then appears as a "rainbow", as seen in the picture below. What color a object is, is what color(s) that is reflected off of it.
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