Light Sources

When we look at a leaf we know that it is green because light bounces off the leaf to our eyes to tell us that it is green. But what is light? Which are the sources of light from which light originated? Light is electromagnetic radiation. A particular frequency of this radiation (around 390-700 nm) is visible to the human eye. Everything that we see around us is because of light. Light is a form of energy and like all energies, it is produced from a source. In Physics, these are called light sources.

Types of Light Sources

There are countless sources of light, but they can all be categorized under either of the two following categories-

  • Natural sources
  • Artificial sources

Types of light sources

Natural Light Sources:

The universe is filled with objects that emit light. Some light from these sources reaches the earth. The following things in nature have the ability to emit light:

  • The Sun is the major source of light for the earth. The sun is a massive ball of fire, at the centre of which nuclear fusion produces massive energy. This energy comes out as heat and light. The light from the sun is one of the major factors behind the sustainability of life on earth.
  • Every other star produces light too, but only a small or no amount of it reaches the earth because of the huge distance.
  • The moon provides light as well but it cannot produce light on its own. The light that we get from the moon is the light reflected by it from the sun.
  • Some living organisms have the ability to produce light too. It is called bioluminescence. It is the effect of certain chemical reactions within the organism. Fireflies, jellyfish, glow-worm, certain deep-sea plants, and microorganisms can be cited as examples.
  • Certain other natural phenomena such as lightning and volcanic eruptions also emit light.

Artificial Light Sources:

Apart from natural sources, light can be produced artificially too. The different light sources produced artificially can be put under three broad categories-

  • Incandescent Sources:

When certain objects are heated to a high temperature, they begin to emit light. Both infrared and visible light is produced in the process.

Example- Candle, incandescent lamp.

  • Luminescent Sources:

Light can be produced by accelerating charges in a luminescent material. One common way of doing it is by passing current through the material.

Example- Fluorescent tube light, electric bulb

  • Gas Discharge Sources:

Passing electricity through certain gases at very low pressure can produce light too.

Example – Neon lamp, Sodium lamp.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How many light sources are there?

There are countless sources of light, but they can all be categorised under either of the two following categories-
  • Natural sources
  • Artificial sources

What are incandescent light sources?

When certain objects are heated to a high temperature, they begin to emit light. Both infrared and visible light is produced in the process.
Example- Candle, incandescent lamp.

Define refraction.

The change in direction of a wave, while passing from one medium to another is known as refraction.

Define light.

Light is a form of energy that enables us to see things. Light starts from a source and bounces off objects which are perceived by our eyes and our brain processes this signal, which eventually enables us to see.

Give a daily life example of the refraction of light.

Twinkling of stars and formation of rainbow.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about light sources, electromagnetic radiation, and much more.

Test your knowledge on Light sources

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