The Electromagnetic Spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum is a continuum of all electromagnetic waves arranged according to frequency and wavelength. The sun, earth, and other bodies radiate electromagnetic energy of varying wavelengths. Electromagnetic energy passes through space at the speed of light in the form of sinusoidal waves. The wavelength is the distance from wavecrest to wavecrest (see figure below).

Light is a particular type of electromagnetic radiation that can be seen and sensed by the human eye, but this energy exists at a wide range of wavelengths. The micron is the basic unit for measuring the wavelength of electomagnetic waves. The spectrum of waves is divided into sections based on wavelength. The shortest waves are gamma rays, which have wavelengths of 10e-6 microns or less. The longest waves are radio waves, which have wavelengths of many kilometers. The range of visible consists of the narrow portion of the spectrum, from 0.4 microns (blue) to 0.7 microns (red).

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