Meteorological wonders: electromagnetic waves

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Electromagnetic spectrum – Introduction (nasa.gov)

Whether we know it or not, we encounter all kinds of electromagnetic waves on a daily basis. Some of them come from the microwave, the sun, the radio, and even the doctor’s office. Most of them are harmless, but if you stay with some of them for too long, damage can be done to our body. Let’s first see what an electromagnetic wave is.

electro (meteo.gov

Electromagnetic waves don’t need molecules to travel, like sound does. This means that they can travel on Earth, through solid objects and in space. These waves are formed when an electric field (red) couples to a magnetic field (blue). In fact, we can only see one electromagnetic waveform, while the rest is invisible to the naked eye.

electro (meteo.gov)

Waves differ in size and energy. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy. X-rays are only the size of water molecules, but are very powerful. Maybe you go to the dentist and he gives you the lead vest to wear during the x-rays. This is because lead absorbs harmful x-rays, although they can pass through virtually any other solid object. We see electromagnetic waves visible in the form of colors and light. Its wavelength, however, is only the size of bacteria. Microwaves are used inside a microwave oven (you guessed it). The Doppler radars that meteorologists use on television also use microwaves to determine precipitation. Their wavelength is about the size of a baseball. Radio waves can reach the size of a building. Thank goodness we can’t see them!

Electromagnetic spectrum – Introduction (nasa.gov)

Electromagnetic waves are important for most daily activities. When you are on the go or just at home, think about all the types of waves you can encounter.

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