Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, Ricardo Amils, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII, William M. Irvine, Daniele L. Pinti, Michel Viso

Electromagnetic Radiation

  • Daniel RouanEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_492


The expression electromagnetic radiation designates the energy that is transported in the form of a propagating wave made of two perpendicular components, one an electric field, the other a magnetic field, which oscillate at the same frequency. This description applies to light in all its forms: radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, and gamma rays. It is by far the most important vector of information reaching us from the Universe and the objects it contains. Different physical processes give rise to electromagnetic radiation, and are generally classified as thermal (resulting from the thermal motion in a medium) or nonthermal radiation.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LESIAObservatoire Paris-Site de MeudonMeudonFrance