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Electromagnetic radiation emitted by charged particles that are moving at speeds close to that of light when their paths are altered. It is so called because it is produced by high-speed particles in a synchrotron. Such radiation is highly polarized (seepolarization) and continuous. Its intensity and frequency depend on the strength of the magnetic field that alters the path of the particles, as well as on the energy of those particles. Synchrotron radiation at radio frequencies is emitted by high-energy electrons as they spiral through magnetic fields in space, such as those around Jupiter. Synchrotron radiation is emitted by a variety of astronomical objects, from planets to supernova remnants to quasars.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on synchrotron radiation, visit Britannica.com.