Monday, June 29, 2020

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is composed of EM waves. Electromagnetic waves or EM waves are waves that are created as a result of vibrations between an electric field and a magnetic field.
In other words, EM waves are composed of oscillating magnetic and electric fields. This is why they are called, "electromagnetic’ waves." The electric field and magnetic field of an electromagnetic wave are perpendicular (at right angles) to each other. These waves are also perpendicular to the direction of the EM wave. The direction of the wave is also called the propagation of the wave.

electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is ordered by frequency, which is the number of wavelengths that pass a fixed point per second. Frequency is measured in hertz. The spectrum has a very wide range from radio waves which have a frequency of 108 Hz to an incredibly small gamma ray with a frequency of 1020 Hz.

An electromagnetic wave can travel through anything including air, a solid material, or even a vacuum. It does not need a medium to propagate or travel from one place to another.

Let’s take a look at the electromagnetic spectrum.

electromagnetic spectrum

Radio waves have a low frequency and they have a wavelength roughly the size of a soccer field. Moving to the right are microwaves and they have wavelengths roughly the size of a baseball.

In the middle is visible light with a wavelength of the size of bacteria.

Visible light is subdivided with the color red having the lowest frequency and blue having the highest frequency.

X-rays are slightly larger than a water molecule and radioactive sources are the size of atoms.

wavelength electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is used in everyday life from listening to music,
to visible light, to microwave ovens, and even looking inside our bodies.

MooMooMath and Science YouTube

Visible Light


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