What is Light?

Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum of energy. It is a form of energy that we can see. Light is created when an energy source emits energy in the visual spectrum which is between 380 and 780 nanometers.

Incandescence at its Best!

Light is created in a number of ways. Incandescence is the most common way. Incandescence is burning. In an incandescent light bulb the filament is heated until it glows. This is true in the common A lamp as well as halogen and xenon light bulbs. Arc discharge is another way light is created as in fluorescent or High Intensity Discharge lamps. Arc discharge occurs when an electrical current is passed through a gas. Another relatively new way to create light is Solid State Lighting, better know as LED. Light is produced when electrical current passes through a semiconductor and light is emitted as a photon. 

Perhaps the best example of incandescence is the sun. The sun is an example of natural light. Daylight is sunlight reflected and diffused through the atmosphere. Moonlight is sunlight reflected. There is no single type of natural light. There are even some plants that give off light directly. They are luminescent.

It is important to know about light, light sources and qualities of light in order to more effectively design lighting for a home. Remember, from a previous post, the color you see is in the light source. If the light source does not have a full spectrum of colors, you will not see the colors that are missing from that light source. That is why early fluorescent and LED light sources did not render colors accurately; they were missing colors in the spectrum.

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