Electromagnetic Spectrum

By Ava McHugh

What kind of disturance creates an electromagnetic wave?

Electromagentic waves are produced by a vibrating electric charge and they consist of both eletric and magnetic components.

How are mechanical waves and electromagnetic waves different?

The biggest different between the two type of waves is the fact that mechanical waves require a medium in order to travel while electromagnetic waves do not. Becaus e of this, electromagnetic waves are capable of transporting waves in order space. Also, mechanical waves are caused by amplitude and not by frequency. Electromagnetic waves are produced by vibration of charged particles.

Ranges of The Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Radio Waves

Radio waves were discovered by Heinrich Hertz in the late 1880s. These waves have the longest wave length in the electro magnetic spectrum. Radio waves can be emitted by radio stations to transmit music to your car or personal radio. Not only do these waves come from radio stations but they can also come from stars and gases in space.

1cm-1km m

30 GHz-300 kHz

<2 x 10^-24 J


Microwaves are a band of waves at the higher end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Most commonly, they are used for cooking food quickly. However, their uses vary. These waves are also used to penetrate haze, light rain and snow, smoke, and clouds. Therefore, they are very beneficial in the realm of satellite communication and studing other planets from space.

1 x 10^-3 - 1 x 10^-1 m

3 x 10^9 - 3 x 10^11 Hz

2 x 10^-24- 2 x 10^-22 J

Infrared Waves

Infrared waves were discovered in 1800 by William Herschel. These waves are just beyond the visible light spectrum. Much of the infrared energry can be sensed using heat. Though the naked eye is unable to see these infared images, there are special tools (like night vision goggles or infrared cameras) that allow humans to see the infrared waves that come from warm objects.

7 x 10^-7 - 1 x 10^-3 m

3 x 10^11 - 4 x 10^14 Hz

2 x 10-22 - 3 x 10-19 J

Visible Light Waves

The entire electromanetic spectrum is light but the section called visible light is the only part of the spectrum that the human eye can see. Other sections have wavelengths too big or small for our eyes to percieve. Fire flies, light bulbs, and stars all emit visible light. Microscopes are a tool that emit visible light.

4 x 10^-7 - 7 x 10^-7 m

4 x 10^14 - 7.5 x 10^14 Hz

3 x 10^-19 - 5 x 10^-19 J

Ultraviolet Waves

Ultraviolet waves were discovered in 1801 by John Ritter. Although these waves are invisible to the human eye, some insects such as bumblebees are able to see them. The sun is a source of Ultraviolet rays, also known as UV rays, that is present in all of our lives. Some UV rays are harmful and can burn skin. A tanning bed is a tool that can produce artificial UV rays in order tan a person's skin. UV rays are also used to capture a map of the moon.

1 x 10^-8 - 4 x 10^-7 m

7.5 x 10^14 - 3 x 10^16 Hz

5 x 10^-19 - 2 x 10^-17 J

X-ray Waves

X-rays were first observed and discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm conrad. The most common use of these waves is looking at bones. Bone are able to absorb more of the x-ray waves than skin can and therefore show through on x-ray sensitive film. Another use in in the airport in TSA. The airport security uses xrays to see inside the bags of travelers.

1 x 10^-11 - 1 x 10^-8 m

3 x 10^16 - 3 x 10^19 Hz

2 x 10^-17 - 2 x 10^-14 J

Gamma Ray Waves

Gamma Rays have the smallest wavelenghts and most energy of any wave in the EM soectrum. They cannot be captured and reflected by mirrors. Doctors can use gamma ray imagining to see inside your body. Gamma rays are also used to identify elements on other planets.

< 1 x 10^-11 m

> 3 x 10^19 Hz

> 2 x 10^-14 J

Electromagnetic Spectrum Song