Electromagnetic energy is a term used to describe all the different kinds of energies released into space by stars such as the Sun. These kinds of energies include some that you will recognize and some that will sound strange.
• Radio Waves
• TV waves
• Radar waves
• Heat (infrared radiation)
• Ultraviolet Light (This is what causes Sunburns)
• X-rays (Just like the kind you get at the doctor’s office)
• Short waves
• Microwaves, like in a microwave oven
• Gamma Rays
All these waves do different things (for example, light waves make things visible to the human eye, while heat waves make molecules move and warm up, and x rays can pass through a person and land on film, allowing us to take a picture inside someone’s body) but they have some things in common.
They all travel in waves, like the waves at a beach or like sound waves, and also are made of tiny particles. Scientists are unsure of exactly how the waves and the particles relate to each other. The fact that electromagnetic radiation travels in waves lets us measure the different kind by wavelength or how long the waves are. That is one way we can tell the kinds of radiation apart from each other.
Although all kinds of electromagnetic radiation are released from the Sun, our atmosphere stops some kinds from getting to us. For example, the ozone layer stops a lot of harmful ultraviolet radiation from getting to us, and that’s why people are so concerned about the hole in it.
We humans have learned uses for a lot of different kinds of electromagnetic radiation and have learned how to make it using other kinds of energy when we need to. DS1 would not be able to communicate with Earth, for example, if it could not produce radio waves.
City of Hurstville, Australia,
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