Sunlight & nuclear fusion


The Sun generates electromagnetic waves primarily through nuclear fusion. Here’s a step-by-step explanation:

Nuclear fusion
  • At the Sun’s core, extremely high temperatures and pressure allow for the fusion of hydrogen nuclei (protons) into helium.
    • This process is also known as thermonuclear fusion.
    • During this reaction, a small portion of the mass of the hydrogen atoms is converted into energy according to Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence principle (E=mc^2).
Photon production
  • The energy produced by nuclear fusion is initially in the form of high-energy gamma photons.
Photon’s journey to the surface
  • Gamma photons then embark on a zig-zag journey to the surface of the Sun, being absorbed and re-emitted by atoms in the Sun’s interior and gradually losing energy in the process.
Surface emission
  • Once photons reach the Sun’s surface (photosphere), they escape and radiate into space. While the majority of this energy is in the form of visible light, it also emits significant amounts of energy in the ultraviolet and infrared parts of the spectrum, as well as smaller amounts in the X-ray, gamma ray, and radio wave parts of the spectrum.
Solar radiation
Magnetic field
  • It’s also worth noting that the Sun’s magnetic field can contribute to the generation of some forms of electromagnetic radiation, like solar flares or coronal mass ejections, which can emit radio waves and X-rays.