Radiation Pressure

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Radiation Pressure r</sub>)</strong> </dt>
Pressure exerted upon any material body by electromagnetic radiation incident upon it. See Poynting-Robertson effect. </dd>
This pressure is manifested whenever the electromagnetic momentum is a radiation field is changes, and is exactly twice as great when the radiation is reflected at normal incidence as it is when the radiation is entirely absorbed at normal incidence. The magnitude of any radiation-pressure effect is directly proportional to the intensity of the radiation, and is very small by most standards. On a perfectly reflecting surface Pr = u/3 where u is radiation density, the amount of radiative energy per unit volume in the space above the surface. Radiation pressure has a perceptible effect on the orbit of earth satellites, especially those with a large reflecting surface such as Echo. </dd>


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use