Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Electromagnetic Spectwhat???

     Ok, now, the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM is quite a "mouth-full" to say. And, quite a "brain-full" to learn (I'm so funny!). Ok, but. When you hear this long tongue twister, you are thinking WHAT THE HECK? But now, after looking at it in detail, it just is a name for a group of waves, more specifically, it is a name given to different types of radiation. Radiation is energy that travels and spreads out as it goes. So, the energy in these waves is not concentrated in a little specific spot, the energy "shares the love" to places around it. But very importantly, these waves travel through a vacuum. A medium does not have to be supplied for these waves, just keep that in mind. So, before I dive deep into the wonders of X-rays and radio waves, ill tell you the waves in the electro magnetic spectrum, in order from lowest energy to highest energy. They are: Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Visible light, Ultraviolet, X-rays, and Gamma rays. Otherwise those words in the picture above ^.

Poor guy... :(
     When you break a bone, or shoot a nail through your skull... you go to the doctor to get an X-ray. They swipe this machine over your body and bam! a picture of your bones comes up. We neglect to think about the true science behind this, but do not fear, for I am about to explain this phenomenon to you. X-rays can be used in many ways. They are mostly used for your bones. By putting an X-ray sensitive film on one side of your body and shooting the rays through you, the bones absorb the rays and the shadows are left on the film. You would think that it is almost just a transparent picture of your body, but there is some real science behind it. Also, X-ray's can be used to discover knowledge in space. To study the inside of the sun, we use an X-ray detector and therefore it lets us map this enormously hot thing and we are able to dive into the crazy aspects of space objects. Using X-rays in the doctors office and out in the middle of the universe detecting black holes and the energy of the sun (no big deal, it is just black holes, you know, that thing that will absolutely DISSOLVE YOU INTO SPACE!!!) are just the regular ways that these waves are used in our lives, but, there is some crazy science behind these waves. X -ray's have a frequency of 5000000000000000 Hertz, or 5x10^15 Hertz, and a wavelength of .03 to 3 nanometers (3x10^-11 meters to 3x10^-9 meters), so small, that they are not bigger than a SINGLE ATOM!!! This sets them as second to last on the Electromagnetic energy scale. So, it is pretty crazy to think that such a small thing has such a large application in human life. X-rays are really interesting in the Electromagnetic spectrum. To think that a wavelength is smaller than an atom truly blows my mind. We cannot see these things or feel them, but they are produced by machines on earth, and naturally in space. It is quite a phenomenon and it has a lot of meaning on the earth. But now, to move onto something that might intrigue us teenagers a little bit more. RADIO WAVES!

    We always listen to music and we are always tuning our radio, but what are we actually tuning? Again, we continue to use this crazy thing but never understand it. Well, we are adjusting the frequency and then the waves are converted into our speakers and our music is played! But, a radio is a very simple part of radio waves, radio waves are also found in the solar system. Astronomical objects that have a changing magnetic field produce radio waves. Scientists have found records of radio emissions in the solar system, so like x-rays, this is produced both by man and naturally in nature. Since radios are produced both by man and by man different things in the solar system, there are many different wave  lengths and frequencies. There is the LONG WAVE which is about 1 to 2 kilometers in wavelength. There is the MEDIUM WAVE which is about 100 meters in wavelength. There is also VHF which is very high frequency which has wavelengths around 2 meters. And, there is UHF frequency which has wavelengths less than a meter! But, the crazy thing is that in space, these waves can get enormously long. So with this wide range of wavelengths and frequencies, it allows us humans to use radio waves in many different ways. It really is interesting how many ways these waves can be used.

Well... That's it for the ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM!!! Hope you enjoyed the SUPER IN DEPTH AMAZING analysis of those two waves. That's it that's all folks!



  1. Ford,
    This is a really in-depth, entertaining blog, good work! Remember to be consistent in your units. For example, you say Hz but then spell out meters. You should spell out "Hz" or abbreviate "meters".
    Under radio waves, it would be very beneficial to further explain what an astronomological object is.
    Also, remember not to be a lazy typer and use the Shift+6 combination to show something above. All in all, really nice blog!-Sabeeh

  2. Great posting, very thorough with excellent explanations and illustrations. Injecting a little bit of humor makes your post more readable and interesting.

  3. I apologize for using the description "lazy typer."

  4. Thanks Mrs. Gende and Sabeeh,
    I fixed all those little problems...
    Glad you enjoyed it!