Describe the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Describe the Electromagnetic SpectrumThe electromagnetic spectrum extends through below the low frequencies employed for contemporary radio communication to gamma radiation in the short wavelength (high frequency) end, thus covering wavelengths from 1000s of kilometers down to some fraction of the size of the atom. The limit for long wavelengths is actually the size of the universe itself, although it is believed that the short wavelength limit is in the vicinity of the Planck length, even though in principle the spectrum is continuous and infinite.

Many parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are employed in science with regard to spectroscopic and other probing relationships, as methods to characterize and study matter. Additionally, radiation from different parts of the spectrum has discovered many other uses for manufacturing and communications.

Electromagnetic Spectrum Wavelengths

The electromagnetic spectrum contains all the various wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, such as radio waves, X-rays and light. We name areas of the spectrum instead arbitrarily, however the names give us a common sense of the energy of the radiation; for instance, uv light has smaller wavelengths compared to radio light. The only area in the whole electromagnetic spectrum which our eyes are sensitive to is the visible region.

X-rays range within wavelength from 0.01 – 10 nm (about the size of an atom). They are produced, for example, by super-heated gas through quasars and exploding stars, in which temperatures are close to a million to ten million degrees.

Gamma rays possess the shortest wavelengths, < 0.01 nanometers (about the size of an atomic nucleus). This is the greatest frequency and most energetic area of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Visible light addresses the range of wavelengths from 400 – 700 nm (from the size of a molecule to a protozoan).

Ultraviolet radiation provides wavelengths of 10 – 310 nm (about the size of a virus). Young, hot stars generate plenty of ultraviolet light and bathe interstellar space with this energetic light.

Electromagnetic Spectrum Facts

The electromagnetic spectrum is the whole range of radiation delivered by electrons. It is given off in small packages of energy known as photons, which can be either waves or particles. Electromagnetic waves differ in frequency and length. The smaller the wave, the greater its frequency (and also its energy). The shortest are lower than a billionth of a millimeter long; the longest waves are over 100 kilometers long. All electromagnetic waves move at 300,000 kilometers for each second, which is the pace of light.


Visible light is just a tiny part of the spectrum.

Radio waves, such as television waves and microwaves and infrared light, are produced from waves that are too long for human eyes to see.

Long waves are lower in energy compared to short waves. Long waves from space penetrate the Earth's environment easily (but not solids, such as short waves).

Ultraviolet light, gamma rays and x-rays are produced from waves that are so short for human eyes to sec.

Short waves are extremely energetic. 

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