Information about Infrared heat

Infrared heat is all around us, it has always been there and we even emit it ourselves. Infrared heating is the original and most natural form of heating in existence.

Summer Solstice over Stonehenge

Summer Solstice over Stonehenge

The sun heats up our planet Earth and everything on it through infrared heat so that we all can live here. But how does it work?

Infrared waves create heat by vibrating molecules on a solid surface, creating heat independent of surrounding air temperature. It is infrared energy that we experience when we feel the sun’s warmth.

What does ‘Infrared’ mean?

The term ‘Infrared’ means below red, the Latin word infra meaning “below”. Red is the color of the longest wavelengths of visible light. Infrared light has a longer wavelength than the red light visible to humans, and so the literal meaning of below red.

Sunlight provides just over 1 kilowatt of energy per square meter at sea level. Of this energy, 527 watts is infrared radiation, 445 watts is visible light, and 32 watts is ultraviolet radiation.

The Discovery of Infrared Radiation

The discovery of infrared radiation is attributed to the astronomer William Herschel in the early 19th century. This following entertaining video explaines what infrared light/heat is and how it came to be discovered by William Herschel.

William Herschel published his results on the discovery of infrared radiation in 1800 before the Royal Society of London.

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