Properties of Light The form of electromagnetic radiation your eyes can detect is called ``visible'' or ``optical''. Astronomers have only recently (within the past few decades) been able to use the other forms of electromagnetic radiation or light. Every time technology has been developed to detect another form of light, a revolution in our understanding of the universe has occurred. The figure above shows all of the forms of electromagnetic radiation in order of INcreasing wavelength (given in nanometers (nm)) and DEcreasing energy. Notice how tiny the visible band is! There are some general properties shared by all forms of electromagnetic radiation: 1. It can travel through empty space. Other types of waves need some sort of medium to move through: water waves need liquid water and sound waves need some gas, liquid, or solid material to be heard. 2. The speed of light is constant in space. All forms of light have the same speed of 299,800 kilometers/second in space (often abbreviated as
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.