# what causes objects to emit electromagnetic radiation?

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I know that standard stuff that every textbook says about electromagnetic radiation. I know the different categories (x-ray, microwave, visible light, etc). I know the meaning of the words frequency and wavelength. I still don’t really understand what electromagnetic radiation IS or why objects emit it. I know that wavelength is the distance between the crests of the wave, but what ARE the crests?

In: 4

In general it’s a way for atoms to lose excess energy, for example it can happen when an electron goes to a lower energy state, or when various forms of nuclear decay happen.

A charged particle produces an electric field, a moving charged particle generates a magnetic field, and an accelerating charged particle emits electromagnetic wave; a propagation of electric and magnetic fields through space.

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The universe is made of energy. Mass as we commonly think of it is kind of an illusion (emergent property). If you look close enough, you will notice everything is just vibrations in a field, so everything is energy.

You can think of fields as guitar strings covering all the universe, there are multiple different fields.

Vibration in the magnetic field are called magnet.

Vibrations in the electromagnetic field are called electromagnetic waves.

Vibrations in the gravitational field/ space are called gravitational waves.

Note. Massive simplicity in this comment, please dig deeper for the whole picture.

Others have answered your first few questions, but to answer the thing about the crests, the crests are the points in time and space where the electric field vector and magnetic field vector are their largest. So a charged particle sitting at a crest would feel the largest force while a charged particle sitting at a node would feel no force.

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I know that standard stuff that every textbook says about electromagnetic radiation. I know the different categories (x-ray, microwave, visible light, etc). I know the meaning of the words frequency and wavelength. I still don’t really understand what electromagnetic radiation IS or why objects emit it. I know that wavelength is the distance between the crests of the wave, but what ARE the crests?

In: 4

In general it’s a way for atoms to lose excess energy, for example it can happen when an electron goes to a lower energy state, or when various forms of nuclear decay happen.

A charged particle produces an electric field, a moving charged particle generates a magnetic field, and an accelerating charged particle emits electromagnetic wave; a propagation of electric and magnetic fields through space.

[deleted]

The universe is made of energy. Mass as we commonly think of it is kind of an illusion (emergent property). If you look close enough, you will notice everything is just vibrations in a field, so everything is energy.

You can think of fields as guitar strings covering all the universe, there are multiple different fields.

Vibration in the magnetic field are called magnet.

Vibrations in the electromagnetic field are called electromagnetic waves.

Vibrations in the gravitational field/ space are called gravitational waves.

Note. Massive simplicity in this comment, please dig deeper for the whole picture.

Others have answered your first few questions, but to answer the thing about the crests, the crests are the points in time and space where the electric field vector and magnetic field vector are their largest. So a charged particle sitting at a crest would feel the largest force while a charged particle sitting at a node would feel no force.