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Infinite Radiation?

seraine
Posts: 734
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10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?
Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
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10/9/2012 1:07:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

Natch, the technical upper limit of the electromagnetic spectrum is when a wave/particle is oscillating at the speed of light over plancks length, the theoretical smallest determinable distance , but that's unrealistic to actually occur (and would probably have some very interesting properties!). That would give you the highest frequency possible. Casual calculator bashing puts that as 1.8 x 10^43HZ.

More interestingly, the highest frequency actually detected are some gamma rays from the crab nebula and other galaxies which come in at about 10^27Hz. There is also diffuse emission of gamma-rays which accompany the isotropic flux of cosmic rays. This diffuse gamma-ray emission is commonly recorded below around 10^24 Hz and is apparently expected to extend up to at least 10^30 Hz.

Also, in regards to the actual question, the laws of thermodynamics still apply to radiation sources, so an infinite amount of energy isn't something to look for from them.
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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10/9/2012 6:45:25 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy?

Well, because it does not contain an infinite amount of energy to be expressed.

If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz?

Well, no, it can't, because the frequency at which electromagnetic waves travel depend on the source as well as the matter through which it's travelling.

You seem to believe that electromagnetic fields are "things" in and of themselves, but that's not exactly accurate. They are, in a sense, but they're much more accurately understood as a form of energy expression.

Let me explain to the best of my understanding.

When something is radioactive, that means that its particles are charged, causing that object to decay at a faster than normal rate. Decay is the term scientists use to describe degration into chaos from an ordered state. Ordered states are particles in organized, complex arrangements, like chemicals, compounds, and organisms. Chaos would thus be a formless sea of particles.

Particles refer to the fundamental composites of all matter -- subatomic particles; irreductible matter. When these particles are charged, they do something called oscillate -- think shaking, gyrating, or percolating, perhaps, if you need a visual. However, I'm uncertain how they actually move.

Anyway, electrically charged particles will produce electromagnetism when they oscillate like this. Electromagnetism is one of the four types of energy. Really, this just means that the charged state is produced by or involves electrons, rather than bosons, which create weak nuclear force; quarks, which produce strong nuclear force; or gravitons, which produce gravity. Weak nuclear force is the other sort of force often considered alongside radiation; it is the source of radioactive decay that results in radiation (via bosons in isotopes) rather than electromagnetism (via electrons in electrically charged matter).

So, just as nothing contains an infinite amount of bosons, nothing contains an infinite amount of electrons, either. Accordingly, there comes a point when all things that radiate energy must exhaust.

Likewise, any given source of electromagnetism cannot express this energy at any given frequency, but that's for a different reason. Frequency actually refers to the length of a wave. You know in Algebra and Calculus, how you had to graph parabola after parabola on the Cartesian plane? Well, those are actually wave expressions -- they're expressions for how matter moves and interacts. Electromagnetism, of course, has a frequency, which is why it's best delivered as an alternating current -- what it does, is alternate from positive highs to negative lows. Positive charges to negative charges (and neutral in the middle). This wave length actually depends on the matter through which it passes (or, more accurately, the matter through which the electrons interact), and will therefore entertain several frequencies, depending on its state and the matter it passes through. These frequencies are fixed, and thus can be determined with accuracy with knowledge of the matter with which it's interacting.

However, there's something interesting about electromagnetism. After the source of the energy has already affected the matter around it, the electromagnetic field will remain, due to the inertia of the particles involved. Therefore, although there's no actual energy being expressed, matter will remain acting in a certain way consistent with an electromagnetic field after the electromagnetic wave has long since (relatively) emitted. This does, however, dissipate (another form a decay), and matter will resume its natural state after a given duration.

And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

Hertz are a length measurement; it's a size of the wave. Although there are technically an infinite amount of measurements one can affect to an inch, it will still only be an inch. You can never make a Fruit by the Foot longer simply by measuring every micrometer.
seraine
Posts: 734
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10/10/2012 9:52:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Many sources of static on radios create static along much of the radio spectrum, correct? For example, if I short a battery I can create static that I can receive on multiple frequencies on a radio. Radio waves also contain energy. If a shorted battery is broadcasting static between 1 and 1.5 Mhz, would there be infinite radiation? Because if there is an infinite amount of numbers between any two numbers, then isn't there an infinite number of radio frequencies being broadcast between 1 and 1.5 Mhz? I know that there isn't an infinite amount of energy in every radio broadcast, but I am looking for the reason why there isn't.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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10/11/2012 7:53:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

The source of radiation has a finite amount of energy, and radiation results from the loss of energy (decay) from that source, so there can only be a finite amount of energy emitted from a finite source. The laws of thermodynamics are rigid in that respect, if all the matter in the universe were converted to energy, it would still be a finite amount of energy.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
seraine
Posts: 734
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10/11/2012 7:51:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/11/2012 7:53:23 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

The source of radiation has a finite amount of energy, and radiation results from the loss of energy (decay) from that source, so there can only be a finite amount of energy emitted from a finite source. The laws of thermodynamics are rigid in that respect, if all the matter in the universe were converted to energy, it would still be a finite amount of energy.

I know that, I just accidently used radiation instead of electromagnetic waves or something similar. I am looking for a reason why there isn't an infinite amount of energy in any broadcaster of radio static other than thermodynamics.
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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10/12/2012 10:54:06 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

Energy is quantized and cannot be divided into arbitrarily small amounts. In other words: Quantum Mechanics.

Why does energy adhere to the rules of quantum mechanics? Don't know.
tBoonePickens
Posts: 3,266
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10/15/2012 4:28:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/12/2012 10:54:06 AM, drafterman wrote:
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

Energy is quantized and cannot be divided into arbitrarily small amounts. In other words: Quantum Mechanics.

Why does energy adhere to the rules of quantum mechanics? Don't know.
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WOS
: At 10/3/2012 4:28:52 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
: Without nothing existing, you couldn't have something.
Ore_Ele
Posts: 25,980
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10/17/2012 12:12:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 10/8/2012 5:56:52 PM, seraine wrote:
How is it that any source of electromagnetic radiation/radiowaves does not emit an infinite amount of radiation or energy? If something is emitting radio waves, could,'t the frequencies go all the way from 0.001 hertz to infinitely high hertz? And even if it is impossible to go beyond x amount of hertz, isn't there an infinite number of hertz anyway? For example, between 1 and 2, there is 1.5, 1.25, 1.125, etc. Is it reallly possible for an source of radiation to emit an infinite amount?

Not sure if said, but the speed of light creates a natural barrier. If electromagnetic waves are created by electric atoms moving, their frequency is limited by the speed of light. Since they can only move so fast, they can only vibrate so fast, and so only have so high a frequency.
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