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Nature of Light

Basic terms of Light for Astronomy Class

TermDefinition
Mechanical Wave wave that requires a medium and starts from a vibration in the medium
Longitudinal Wave compressional wave energy transfers in the direction of the medium's vibration
Transverse Wave energy travels perpendicular to the medium's vibration (s wave)
Surface Wave combination of both longitudinal and transverse waves
Electromagnetic Wave wave that does NOT require a medium and starts from a vibrating charged particle
Electromagnetic Radiation emission or transmission of energy through the form of electromagnetic waves.
Crest Peak of wave
Trough bottom of wave
Wave Speed = frequency x wavelength
Speed of Light in a vacuum 3x10^8 m/s
frequency number of waves per second (measured in hertz, Hz)
wavelength distance from crest to crest or trough to trough
visible light Light we can see (ROYGBIV)
radio waves AM & FM - largest wave
microwaves Cellphones
x-rays bones, teeth, security
gamma rays cancer treatment high energy
ultra violet beyond violet - Tanning beds
infrared Heat
emisson spectrum light is split into a spectrum and only certain color bands are present
reflection when waves bounce off something
refraction bending of waves, due to a change in speed
diffraction spreading of waves around corners
photons tiny bundles of mass-less energy
emission to give off
transmission to pass through
Created by: Langerphysics