Electromagnetic Waves


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The Electromagnetic Spectrum

If we could see X rays, the Sun might look more like it does in this image taken taken in December by the Soft X ray Telescope SXT , an instrument onboard the Yohkoh observatory spacecraft. What does the Sun really look like? We can never know: our eyes can't appreciate it completely!

High-energy gamma rays are also blocked by Earth's atmosphere, so we need space-based telescopes to study those too, such as the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory , which operated from to This photo shows the Compton whizzing over Baja California, Mexico in , and was taken from the Space Shuttle that launched it. The Compton was named for US physicist Arthur Holly Compton — , one of the first scientists to study cosmic rays.

All rights reserved. Full copyright notice and terms of use. Please rate or give feedback on this page and I will make a donation to WaterAid. Woodford, Chris. Electromagnetic spectrum. Who discovered the electromagnetic spectrum?

Electromagnetic radiation.

How can we "see" other parts of the spectrum? Radio waves Giant satellite-dish antennas pick up long-wavelength, high-frequency radio waves. Microwaves Because cosmic microwaves can't get through the whole of Earth's atmosphere, we have to study them from space.

Infrared Water in Earth's atmosphere absorbs infrared; studying that kind of electromagnetic radiation is another job for a space-based satellite, such as the Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS , which operated for 10 months during Visible light Visible light shooting in from space is one thing we can easily study from Earth with any conventional, optical telescope.

Ultraviolet light Ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, so it's a good job much of it is absorbed by Earth's ozone layer. X rays Think of X rays and you probably think of broken bones—but they're whizzing round space too. Gamma rays High-energy gamma rays are also blocked by Earth's atmosphere, so we need space-based telescopes to study those too, such as the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory , which operated from to Sponsored links. NASA, A free, colorful page introduction written at a similar level to my own article, but with more detail.

You can download it as a PDF by clicking on "Go to resource. Rosen, One of my books covering the story of electricity, from the ancient Greeks, through James Clerk Maxwell, up to modern-day electronics and computing suitable for ages 9— Eyewitness: Electricity by Steve Parker. DK, What is electricity and how does it power our world?

Articles The science world's unsung hero? BBC News, 25 November About a decade later, English chemist Michael Faraday — proved that the opposite could happen too—you could use magnetism to generate electricity—and that led him to develop the electric motors and electricity generators that now power our world.

Thanks to the pioneering work of people like this, another great scientist, James Clerk Maxwell — was able to come up with a single theory that explained both electricity and magnetism. Maxwell summed up everything people had discovered in four simple equations to produce a superb theory of electromagnetism , which he published in He realized that electromagnetism could travel in the form of waves, at the speed of light, and concluded that light itself had to be a kind of electromagnetic wave.

About a decade after Maxwell's death, a brilliant German physicist named Heinrich Hertz — became the first person to produce electromagnetic waves in a laboratory. That piece of work led to the development of radio , television , and—much more recently—things like wireless Internet. Our eyes pick up light from just one tiny slice of the spectrum, but the Universe is buzzing with other kinds of radiation.

If we want to "see" beyond the electromagnetic limits of our own eyes, we can use telescopes "tuned" to higher or lower wavelengths. Astronomers use all kinds of telescopes—some on Earth, some in space—to glean information about distant objects from the electromagnetic radiation they give off.

Giant satellite-dish antennas pick up long-wavelength, high-frequency radio waves. It's the 70m ft Canberra deep dish satellite in Australia. Because cosmic microwaves can't get through the whole of Earth's atmosphere, we have to study them from space.

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Cosmic Background Explorer COBE , launched in and deactivated in , was a space satellite designed to do this. These images of the night sky were taken by COBE using different wavelengths of infrared light. Water in Earth's atmosphere absorbs infrared; studying that kind of electromagnetic radiation is another job for a space-based satellite, such as the Infrared Astronomical Satellite IRAS , which operated for 10 months during Visible light shooting in from space is one thing we can easily study from Earth with any conventional, optical telescope. This one is the historic 66cm 26inch refractor telescope at the U.

Naval Observatory in Washington, D. However, Earth-bound telescopes like this can pick up only so much—hence the need for telescopes like the Hubble and its replacement, the James Webb that travel into space.


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Ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer, so it's a good job much of it is absorbed by Earth's ozone layer. Unfortunately, the downside of this is that we have to study ultraviolet light coming from space using satellites such as the International Ultraviolet Explorer IUE , which operated for almost two decades between and Think of X rays and you probably think of broken bones—but they're whizzing round space too.

Occurrence and importance

Earth's atmosphere prevents these dangerous, high-energy rays from reaching telescopes on the ground, but space telescopes, such as the Roentgen Satellite ROSAT which operated between and , have been able to observe them in space. The Sun looks the way it does because our eyes see only a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation it gives off. If we could see X rays, the Sun might look more like it does in this image taken taken in December by the Soft X ray Telescope SXT , an instrument onboard the Yohkoh observatory spacecraft.

What does the Sun really look like? We can never know: our eyes can't appreciate it completely! High-energy gamma rays are also blocked by Earth's atmosphere, so we need space-based telescopes to study those too, such as the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory , which operated from to This photo shows the Compton whizzing over Baja California, Mexico in , and was taken from the Space Shuttle that launched it.

The Compton was named for US physicist Arthur Holly Compton — , one of the first scientists to study cosmic rays. All rights reserved. The ability to control infrared and terahertz waves using magnetic or electric fields is one of the great challenges in physics that could revolutionise opto-electronics, telecommunications and medical diagnostics. A theory Antennas made of carbon nanotube films are just as efficient as copper for wireless applications, according to researchers at Rice University's Brown School of Engineering. They're also tougher, more flexible and can essentially Whether Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, which perfectly steers light waves around objects to make them invisible, will ever become reality remains to be seen, but perfecting a more crucial cloak is impossible, a new study One hundred years ago today, on May 29, , measurements of a solar eclipse offered verification for Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Even before that, Einstein had developed the theory of special relativity, which Electromagnetic radiation sometimes abbreviated EMR is a ubiquitous phenomenon that takes the form of self-propagating waves in a vacuum or in matter.

Electromagnetic Waves and How They Work | EAGLE | Blog

It consists of electric and magnetic field components which oscillate in phase perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy propagation. Electromagnetic radiation is classified into several types according to the frequency of its wave; these types include in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength : radio waves, microwaves, terahertz radiation, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.

A small and somewhat variable window of frequencies is sensed by the eyes of various organisms; this is what we call the visible spectrum, or light. This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, and provide content from third parties. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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