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The range of infrared frequencies extends up to the lower limit of visible light, just below red. In fact, infrared means “below red.” Frequencies at its upper limit are too high to be produced by accelerating electrons in circuits, but small systems, such as atoms and molecules, can vibrate fast enough to produce these waves.

Water molecules rotate and vibrate particularly well at infrared frequencies, emitting and absorbing them so efficiently that the emissivity for skin is e = 0 . 97 size 12{e=0 "." "97"} {} in the infrared. Night-vision scopes can detect the infrared emitted by various warm objects, including humans, and convert it to visible light.

We can examine radiant heat transfer from a house by using a camera capable of detecting infrared radiation. Reconnaissance satellites can detect buildings, vehicles, and even individual humans by their infrared emissions, whose power radiation is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature. More mundanely, we use infrared lamps, some of which are called quartz heaters, to preferentially warm us because we absorb infrared better than our surroundings.

The Sun radiates like a nearly perfect blackbody (that is, it has e = 1 size 12{e=1} {} ), with a 6000 K surface temperature. About half of the solar energy arriving at the Earth is in the infrared region, with most of the rest in the visible part of the spectrum, and a relatively small amount in the ultraviolet. On average, 50 percent of the incident solar energy is absorbed by the Earth.

The relatively constant temperature of the Earth is a result of the energy balance between the incoming solar radiation and the energy radiated from the Earth. Most of the infrared radiation emitted from the Earth is absorbed by CO 2 size 12{"CO" rSub { size 8{2} } } {} and H 2 O size 12{H rSub { size 8{2} } O} {} in the atmosphere and then radiated back to Earth or into outer space. This radiation back to Earth is known as the greenhouse effect, and it maintains the surface temperature of the Earth about 40º C size 12{"40"°C} {} higher than it would be if there is no absorption. Some scientists think that the increased concentration of CO 2 size 12{"CO" rSub { size 8{2} } } {} and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, resulting from increases in fossil fuel burning, has increased global average temperatures.

Visible light

Visible light is the narrow segment of the electromagnetic spectrum to which the normal human eye responds. Visible light is produced by vibrations and rotations of atoms and molecules, as well as by electronic transitions within atoms and molecules. The receivers or detectors of light largely utilize electronic transitions. We say the atoms and molecules are excited when they absorb and relax when they emit through electronic transitions.

[link] shows this part of the spectrum, together with the colors associated with particular pure wavelengths. We usually refer to visible light as having wavelengths of between 400 nm and 750 nm. (The retina of the eye actually responds to the lowest ultraviolet frequencies, but these do not normally reach the retina because they are absorbed by the cornea and lens of the eye.)

Red light has the lowest frequencies and longest wavelengths, while violet has the highest frequencies and shortest wavelengths. Blackbody radiation from the Sun peaks in the visible part of the spectrum but is more intense in the red than in the violet, making the Sun yellowish in appearance.

Questions & Answers

does the force in a system result in the energy transfer?
Lebatam Reply
full meaning of GPS system
Anaele Reply
how to prove that Newton's law of universal gravitation F = GmM ______ R²
Kaka Reply
sir dose it apply to the human system
Olubukola Reply
prove that the centrimental force Fc= M1V² _________ r
Kaka Reply
prove that centripetal force Fc = MV² ______ r
Kaka
how lesers can transmit information
mitul Reply
griffts bridge derivative
Ganesh Reply
below me
please explain; when a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative- yet both attracts dust. does dust have third types of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative
Timothy Reply
what is a conductor
Timothy
hello
Timothy
below me
why below you
Timothy
no....I said below me ...... nothing below .....ok?
dust particles contains both positive and negative charge particles
Mbutene
corona charge can verify
Stephen
when pressure increases the temperature remain what?
Ibrahim Reply
remains the temperature
betuel
what is frequency
Mbionyi Reply
define precision briefly
Sujitha Reply
CT scanners do not detect details smaller than about 0.5 mm. Is this limitation due to the wavelength of x rays? Explain.
MITHRA Reply
hope this helps
what's critical angle
Mahmud Reply
The Critical Angle Derivation So the critical angle is defined as the angle of incidence that provides an angle of refraction of 90-degrees. Make particular note that the critical angle is an angle of incidence value. For the water-air boundary, the critical angle is 48.6-degrees.
dude.....next time Google it
okay whatever
Chidalu
pls who can give the definition of relative density?
Temiloluwa
the ratio of the density of a substance to the density of a standard, usually water for a liquid or solid, and air for a gas.
Chidalu
What is momentum
aliyu Reply
mass ×velocity
Chidalu
it is the product of mass ×velocity of an object
Chidalu
how do I highlight a sentence]p? I select the sentence but get options like copy or web search but no highlight. tks. src
Sean Reply
then you can edit your work anyway you want

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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