Radiant heat transfer involves the transfer of heat by electromagnetic radiation that arises due to the temperature of a body. Most energy of this type is in the infra-red region of the electromagnetic spectrum although some of it is in the visible region. The term thermal radiation is frequently used to distinguish this form of electromagnetic radiation from other forms, such as radio waves, x-rays, or gamma rays.
The transfer of heat from a fireplace across a room in the line of sight is an example of radiant heat transfer. Radiant heat transfer does not need a medium, such as air or metal, to take place. Any material that has a temperature above absolute zero gives off some radiant energy. When a cloud covers the sun, both its heat and light diminish. This is one of the most familiar examples of heat transfer by thermal radiation.