Radiation from the Sun

Radiation from the Sun is called sunlight.

Radiation from the Sun is called sunlight.

Radiation from the Sun is also called sunlight. Sunlight is made up of electromagnetic waves. We can see some of these waves as visible light, but there are also x-rays, infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, microwaves, and radio waves.

Dentists use x-rays to examine teeth.

Dentists use x-rays to examine teeth.

Radiation from the Sun gives plants the energy to grow.

Radiation from the Sun gives plants the energy to grow.

As you can see, x-rays are the shortest waves and radio waves are the longest waves. Shorter waves have the most energy and are dangerous to humans because they can cause cancer. When you are getting an x-ray, doctors or dentists will put a lead vest over you to protect your body from the x-ray waves. If you are playing outside on a sunny day, you should wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the UV rays.

The Sun sends heat to the Earth in the form of radiation. Radiation is the transfer of energy through electromagnetic waves. Infrared rays carry heat from the Sun to the Earth. UV and visible light also heat up the Earth. When these rays are absorbed by either the atmosphere or surface of the Earth, heat is released.

The process of absorbing or “trapping” sunlight is called the greenhouse effect.