Chapter 5

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Astronomy & Astrophysics
Clifford Orwin

Unit 5 Light and Matter How do we Experience Light: Energy that light carries is called radiative energy. Energy and Power: In astronomy we are concerned more with the rate of energy transfer not the amount of energy transfer Rate of energy flow is called power and is measured in units called watts. (1 watt = 1 joules) How do Light and Matter Interact: Emission: bulb emits visible light. The energy of the light comes from electrical potential energy supplied to the light bulb. Absorption: when you place your hand near a light bulb, your hand absorbs some of the light, and this absorbed energy warms your hand. Transmission: Some forms of matter, such as glass or air, transmit light, which means allowing it to pass through Reflectionscattering: light is able to bounce off of matter, leading to what we call reflection (bouncing all in the same general direction) or scattering (when the bouncing is more random) Materials that transmit light are transparent, and opaque if they absorb light. Many materials are never perfectly transparent or opaque. All the information that light brings to earth from the universe was encoded by one of the four basic interactions between light and, matter common to our everyday experience. Particles and Waves in Everyday Life: A particle of mater can sit still or it can move from one place to another. In essence, a particle is a thing, while a wave is a pattern revealed by its interaction with particles. Wavelength: distance from one peak to the next (one trough to the next) Frequency: number of peaks passing by any point each second.
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