Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Radiation Pressure

  • Henderson James (Jim) CleavesII
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1334-3


In astronomy and physics, radiation pressure is pressure exerted upon a surface exposed to electromagnetic radiation. The pressure is the power flux density divided by the speed of light if it is absorbed. If the radiation is reflected, the radiation pressure is doubled. Radiation pressure is about 10−5 Pa at Earth’s distance from the Sun and decreases by the square of the distance from the Sun. Though weak, such pressures produce significant effects on small particles like ions, electrons and cometary dust particles.

See Also


Small Particle Flux Density Bioorganic Chemistry Dust Particle Electromagnetic Radiation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI)Tokyo Institute of TechnologyMeguro-kuJapan
  2. 2.Institute for Advanced StudyPrincetonUSA
  3. 3.Blue Marble Space Institute of ScienceWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Center for Chemical EvolutionGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA