Change of wavelength in photons during travel / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Redshift?

Summarize this article for a 10 year old


In physics, a redshift is an increase in the wavelength, and corresponding decrease in the frequency and photon energy, of electromagnetic radiation (such as light). The opposite change, a decrease in wavelength and simultaneous increase in frequency and energy, is known as a blueshift, or negative redshift. The terms derive from the colours red and blue which form the extremes of the visible light spectrum. The main causes of electromagnetic redshift in astronomy and cosmology are the relative motions of radiation sources, which give rise to the relativistic Doppler effect, and gravitational potentials, which gravitationally redshift escaping radiation. All sufficiently distant light sources show cosmological redshift corresponding to recession speeds proportional to their distances from Earth, a fact known as Hubble's law that implies the universe is expanding.

Absorption lines in the visible spectrum of a supercluster of distant galaxies (right), as compared to absorption lines in the visible spectrum of the Sun (left). Arrows indicate redshift. Wavelength increases up towards the red and beyond (frequency decreases).

All redshifts can be understood under the umbrella of frame transformation laws. Gravitational waves, which also travel at the speed of light, are subject to the same redshift phenomena. The value of a redshift is often denoted by the letter z, corresponding to the fractional change in wavelength (positive for redshifts, negative for blueshifts), and by the wavelength ratio 1 + z (which is greater than 1 for redshifts and less than 1 for blueshifts).

Examples of strong redshifting are a gamma ray perceived as an X-ray, or initially visible light perceived as radio waves. Subtler redshifts are seen in the spectroscopic observations of astronomical objects, and are used in terrestrial technologies such as Doppler radar and radar guns.

Other physical processes exist that can lead to a shift in the frequency of electromagnetic radiation, including scattering and optical effects; however, the resulting changes are distinguishable from (astronomical) redshift and are not generally referred to as such (see section on physical optics and radiative transfer).

Oops something went wrong: