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Radiant Energy

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Atoms absorb energy from an outside source and release (or "emit") this energy as electromagnetic radiation.  This radiation can be in the form of waves of many different wavelengths or frequencies.

Many energy sources emit radiant energy.  The sun and other stars are luminous or "light-giving" objects that produce radiant energy from nuclear reactions.  Luminescence may result from biological processes (e.g., fireflies), from chemical reactions like burning kerosene in a lamp, from friction, or from electricity, as in a light bulb.

Photograph of a sunset