We use the electromagnetic spectrum every day it’s the microwave you use to heat your food and the cell phones you use to text! Those are part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum. The light that our eyes can see is also part of the electromagnetic spectrum. This visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum consists of the colors that we see in a rainbow - from reds and oranges, through blues and purples!! The electromagnetic spectrum has 7 parts to it, radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultra violet, x-rays, and gamma waves. Radio waves~ are the electromagnetic waves with the wave length longer than 1mm, it is used for communication. Radio waves also have the longest wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. These waves can be longer than a football field or as short as a football. Radio waves do more than just bring music to your radio. They also carry signals for your television and cellular phones. Because radio waves are larger than optical waves, radio telescopes work differently than telescopes that we use for visible > light (optical telescopes). Radio telescopes are dishes made out of conducting metal that reflect radio waves to a focus point. Because the wavelengths of radio light are so large, a radio telescope must be physically larger than an optical telescope to be able to make images of comparable clarity. For example, the Parkes radio telescope, which has a dish 64 meters wide, cannot give us any clearer an image than a small backyard telescope! In order to make better and more clear (or higher resolution) radio images, radio astronomers often combine several smaller telescopes, or receiving dishes, into an array. Together, the dishes can act as one large telescope whose size equals the total area occupied by the array. Microwaves~ are radio waves with wave lengths between 1m and 1mm. Microwaves have wavelengths that can be measured in centimeters! The longer microwaves, those closer to a foot in length, are the waves which heat our food in a microwave oven. Microwaves are good for transmitting information from one place to another because microwave energy can penetrate haze, light rain and snow, clouds, and smoke. Shorter microwaves are used in remote sensing. These microwaves are used for radar like the Doppler radar used in weather forecasts. Microwaves, used for radar, are just a few inches long. Radar is an acronym for "radio detection and ranging". Radar was developed to detect objects and determine their range (or position) by transmitting short bursts of microwaves. The strength and origin of "echoes" received from objects that were hit by the microwaves is then recorded. Because radar senses electromagnetic waves that are a reflection of an active transmission, radar is considered an active remote sensing system. Passive remote sensing refers to the sensing of electromagnetic waves which did not originate from the satellite or sensor itself. The sensor is just a passive observer. Infrared~ is resistance of an object to change in its motion. Infrared light lies between the visible and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared light has a range of wavelengths, just like visible light has wavelengths that range from red light to violet. "Near infrared" light is closest in wavelength to visible light and "far infrared" is closer to the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The longer, far infrared wavelengths are about the size of a pin head and the shorter, near infrared ones are the size of cells, or are microscopic. Far infrared waves are thermal. In other words, we experience this type of infrared radiation every day in the form of heat! The heat that we feel from sunlight, a fire, a radiator or a warm sidewalk is infrared. The temperature-sensitive nerve endings in our skin can detect the difference between inside body temperature and outside skin temperature. Shorter, near infrared waves are not hot at all - in fact you...
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