Principles of Light - Principles of Light Properties of...

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Principles of Light Properties of Light and other Electromagnetic Radiation Light is the medium of energy by which we perceive our environment through our eyes. It is one form of electromagnetic radiation which includes things like ultraviolet, infrared, and radio waves. Like all electromagnetic radiation, light is transmitted by individual packets (or quanta) of energy known as photons. These photons are the units by which the combined forces of electricity and magnetism are communicated between other particles, such as the electrons associated with an atom. As an object moves toward us in space, it can radiate light that we can perceive in a telescope. The velocity of the light we receive does not change. However, during the time interval between each of the peaks in the light wave it is transmitting, the object has moved slightly closer toward us. Thus the wavelength grows shorter and appears more blue than normal. Correspondingly, an object moving away from us will have its wavelength stretched out, making it appear more red. This red-shift or blue-shift property has a number of important applications in astronomy. It can be used to measure the velocity with which a distant object, such as a galaxy, is moving toward or away from us. The Spectrum
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This note was uploaded on 12/22/2010 for the course AST 8716 taught by Professor Reim during the Spring '10 term at University of Southern Maine.

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Principles of Light - Principles of Light Properties of...

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