An analysis of the electromagnetic spectrum as an organization of six different wavelengths

Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Wave Behaviors Light waves across the electromagnetic spectrum behave in similar ways.

An analysis of the electromagnetic spectrum as an organization of six different wavelengths

Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum Wave Behaviors Light waves across the electromagnetic spectrum behave in similar ways.

When a light wave encounters an object, they are either transmitted, reflected, absorbed, refracted, polarized, diffracted, or scattered depending on the composition of the object and the wavelength of the light.

Specialized instruments onboard NASA spacecraft and airplanes collect data on how electromagnetic waves behave when they interact with matter. These data can reveal the physical and chemical composition of matter. Reflection Reflection is when incident light incoming light hits an object and bounces off.

Very smooth surfaces such as mirrors reflect almost all incident light. The color of an object is actually the wavelengths of the light reflected while all other wavelengths are absorbed.

Color, in this case, refers to the different wavelengths of light in the visible light spectrum perceived by our eyes.

The physical and chemical composition of matter determines which wavelength or color is reflected. The instrument measures the time it takes a laser pulse to hit the surface and return.

The longer the response time, the farther away the surface and lower the elevation. A shorter response time means the surface is closer or higher in elevation. This heat is then emitted from the object as thermal energy. Some objects, such as darker colored objects, absorb more incident light energy than others.

For example, black pavement absorbs most visible and UV energy and reflects very little, while a light-colored concrete sidewalk reflects more energy than it absorbs. Thus, the black pavement is hotter than the sidewalk on a hot summer day. Photons bounce around during this absorption process and lose bits of energy to numerous molecules along the way.

This thermal energy then radiates in the form of longer wavelength infrared energy. The Landsat 7 satellite image below shows the city of Atlanta as an island of heat compared to the surrounding area.

Sometimes this warming of air above cities can influence weather, which is called the "urban heat island" effect. Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, based on Landsat-7 data.

An analysis of the electromagnetic spectrum as an organization of six different wavelengths

Diffraction Diffraction is the bending and spreading of waves around an obstacle. It is most pronounced when a light wave strikes an object with a size comparable to its own wavelength.

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An instrument called a spectrometer uses diffraction to separate light into a range of wavelengths—a spectrum. In the case of visible light, the separation of wavelengths through diffraction results in a rainbow.

A spectrometer uses diffraction and the subsequent interference of light from slits or gratings to separate wavelengths. Faint peaks of energy at specific wavelengths can then be detected and recorded. A graph of these data is called a spectral signature.

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Patterns in a spectral signature help scientists identify the physical condition and composition of stellar and interstellar matter. The amount of scattering that takes place depends on the wavelength of the light and the size and structure of the object.

The sky appears blue because of this scattering behavior. Light at shorter wavelengths—blue and violet—is scattered by nitrogen and oxygen as it passes through the atmosphere.

Longer wavelengths of light—red and yellow—transmit through the atmosphere. This scattering of light at shorter wavelengths illuminates the skies with light from the blue and violet end of the visible spectrum. Even though violet is scattered more than blue, the sky looks blue to us because our eyes are more sensitive to blue light.

Aerosols in the atmosphere can also scatter light. Light travels slower in air than in a vacuum, and even slower in water. As light travels into a different medium, the change in speed bends the light. Different wavelengths of light are slowed at different rates, which causes them to bend at different angles.

An analysis of the electromagnetic spectrum as an organization of six different wavelengths

For example, when the full spectrum of visible light travels through the glass of a prism, the wavelengths are separated into the colors of the rainbow. Retrieved [insert date - e. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.*/ Light waves across the electromagnetic spectrum behave in similar ways.

When a light wave encounters an object, they are either transmitted, reflected, absorbed, refracted, polarized, diffracted, or scattered depending on the composition of the object and the wavelength of the light.

-records electromagnetic energy in visible wavelengths and displays it in grayscale/black & white-"all-colors"-photos record or capture electromagnetic energy in the to micrometer (nm) wavelength, including all visible portions of light (Figure 6).

different types of energy including radio waves, ultraviolet waves, and microwave waves and many others visible spectrum The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye.

Wavelength of Visible Light Spectrum We are capable of perceiving only a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. A quantitative analysis of the different wavelengths at which visible colors are perceived, is presented in this article.

• Explain what an absorption spectrum is and give several examples. • Relate the color of viewed objects to both the wavelengths of light incident upon it and the wavelength of light it absorbs/reflects. Background Information The phrase “electromagnetic spectrum” is frequently referred to .

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies (the spectrum) of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies..

The electromagnetic spectrum covers electromagnetic waves with frequencies ranging from below one hertz to above 10 25 hertz, corresponding to wavelengths from thousands of kilometers down to a fraction of the size of an .

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