what’s is radiation and does everything emit radiation?


what’s is radiation and does everything emit radiation?

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Radiation is basically wavelengths of light. Everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits radiation. Ionizing radiation, the kind that kills you, is in the ultraviolet or above wavelength, and only comes from certain elements.

Radiation is somewhat self defining. It is something that radiates. There are two broad categories: particle and wave. Wave is most commonly in the form of electromagnetic radiation. It varies from extremely long wavelengths to extremely short. Visible light is several hundred nanometers in wavelength. All matter emits electromagnetic radiation. Usually in the form of infrared. Particle radiation is when the matter shoots of a particle with mass. An example is beta radiation. Beta radiation is a high energy electron.

You are constantly exposed to radiation. Most of it is harmless. Your home wifi uses radiation in the form of radio waves. There is an extremely low level of more dangerous types of radiation as well. Our bodies have natural defenses to protect against it, skin being the main one.

“Radiation” is an extremely broad term that includes several different categories of phenomena. The one thing they all have in common is that they involve things “radiating,” or originating at a source and traveling outwards from it.

Microwaves that we use to heat food are radiation. Radio waves that we use for all sorts of electronic communication are radiation. Light from a candle, or the Sun, or your phone’s screen is radiation. The orange glow from a hot piece of metal is radiation. X-rays are radiation. A beam of electrons is radiation, and so is a beam of neutrons. A high-speed hydrogen nucleus from outer space is radiation.

>does everything emit radiation?

In the broadest sense of the term, yes, everything emits radiation. This is typically *blackbody radiation*, constantly emitted by any substance that’s warmer than absolute zero. It’s a type of *electromagnetic radiation,* a spectrum that runs all the way from low-energy radio waves up through microwaves, visible light, ultraviolet light, x-rays, and gamma rays.

In the narrower sense of the term that applies to nuclear reactions, *almost* everything emits radiation, because almost all objects around us contain tiny trace amounts of unstable atoms which can break apart at any moment and eject subatomic shrapnel at high speed. It’s nothing to worry about, because the amount of radiation you’re exposed to in this way is incredibly small.

Radiation is a *very* general term. Almost anything that travels outward from a source and carries energy can be considered radiation. Even sound is frequently considered radiation.

Oddballs like gravitational waves and sound aren’t usually talked about categorically as radiation, and are instead referred to specifically. The common types are particle radiation and electromagnetic radiation.

Particle radiation is fastmoving particles like electrons, protons, or even whole atoms. This is ionizing and can break molecules, so it is dangerous to humans.

Electromagnetic radiation includes so many different wavelengths, from radio waves to visible light to x-rays. These wavelengths act very differently, but share some similarities since they are fundamentally the same thing. Everything made of atoms generates this radiation as those atoms bounce against one another. This is how thermal cameras work.

There’s a few different kinds of radiation.

There’s electromagnetic radiation, which is basically light, everything from radio waves up to gamma radiation. X-rays and higher frequency waves are called ionizing, because they are powerful enough to knock electrons away from atoms, and will cause damage to living tissue.

Everything that has some heat (so everything), gives off some amount of electromagnetic radiation, mostly infrared radiation.

The other type of radiation is particle radiation, tiny bits of atoms that have gotten knocked free, and are moving really really fast. There are different types of particle radiation, groups of protons and neutrons (alpha), electrons (beta), and just plain neutrons. Each of them have different energies and will go through matter more easily.

Most matter has some small portion of its makeup that are unstable atoms. These atoms will spontaneously lose parts, and those parts are radation. Some matter (like uranium), is more unstable then others, and are more radioactive then others.