Radio Waves

Things That Produce Radio Waves
Radio waves are made by transmitters in many
devices that we use today like walkie-talkies,
police radios, and avalanche beacons. Radio stations
also generate radio waves of various frequencies from
their towers. In nature, radio waves are emitted
by all stars (including the sun), electrical sparks, and
lightning. This is why radio stations can experience
interference during electrical storms.
How They are Used
Radio waves are often used for
communication. Aside from transmitting
music from radio stations, radio waves are used by
the military, airports, and by safety officers to
relay information. Each organization uses different
frequencies of waves to avoid confusing
messages. Even astronauts can use radio waves
while they are in outer space to communicate with each other
and with NASA back on Earth.
Are They Dangerous?
Radio waves are very low in energy compared to other electromagnetic
waves. They are used so widely because they pose very little threat to
living things. There is some evidence, however, that large doses of
radio waves over a long period of time may cause certain types of
cancers like leukemia.

What Can We Learn from Them?
Everything in the universe that gives off light gives off radio waves.
This means that radio waves can help us find stars, galaxies, comets
and other celestial bodies. Special radio telescopes have been

What Can We Learn from Them? Microwave telescopes can help scientists locate objects youcan't see with the human eye like black holes. and other transmitting devices. Microwaves are also used to send messages from our cell phones. Some of the biggest sources of microwaves in the universe are supermassive black holes. Most people would have a hard time making it one day without microwaves! Are They Dangerous? Microwaves. How They are Used Microwaves have many interesting uses. black holes glow very brightly in space. The most well-known is for cooking food. It is thought that there may be a link between lots of microwave exposure (like from cell phones) and certain types of brain tumors. heat up. With a microwave telescope. Microwaves Things That Produce Microwaves What makes microwaves? Microwaves are basically high frequency radio waves. are made of radiation and radiation can sometimes be harmful. Scientists . Microwaves cause water molecules to vibrate more quickly and. Radar works by sending out microwaves and seeing what they bounce off of and how quickly they bounce back. cell phones. you are really heating up the food's water molecules from the inside out! Microwaves are also used in radar systems like speed sensors and weather predicting systems. as compared to normal light telescopes. These telescopes look like huge satellite dishes and can be up to 60 m wide! Radio astronomy is extremely useful because it can be used during the day.developed to detect radio waves from stars that are far too distant for our eyes to see. When you put food in the microwave. just like any other type of electromagnetic energy. Many things in the universe also emit microwaves like the sun and other stars. therefore. Microwaves can also cause cataracts or cloudiness in the lens of your eye if you are exposed to them too much. Many things around us make microwaves like the microwave ovens in our kitchens.

hot chocolate. The Milky Way. a beam of infrared light is sent to the device that you are controlling. Some infrared waves are also used for remote controls. Our own galaxy. then you have felt infrared waves! Most infrared waves feel warm to us and they are just barely below our range of visible light. What They are Used For Infrared light is used for many things. Toasters. it is used for heat. When you push the button on a remote. First.can also use microwaves to study the structure of galaxies because the center of each galaxy is a massive microwave source. We also use infrared waves for taking thermal pictures of objects and for night vision goggles. ovens and heat lamps all work because of infrared waves. and even you. Are They Dangerous? The main concern with infrared light is that it is HOT! If you are around too much infrared energy you may get burnt or overheated. . Infrared waves are emitted by objects that have heat like the sun. is studied using microwaves Infrared Things That Produce Infrared Waves Have you ever felt heat radiating off a warm object? Well. a fire.

candles and fire are all things that people automatically think of when it comes to light. but visible light comes from many sources and in many colors. which has a very thick atmosphere. When all the colors are together. Infrared or thermal photography can help us study how fires burn. Each color has its own special frequency and wavelength. Visible Light Things That Produce Visible Light Visible light is the range of electromagnetic waves that humans can see. The sun. they make the normal "white" light that we see.What Can We Learn from Them? Infrared waves help scientists see things in terms of heat. we use it TO SEE! Without light. For example. many nebulae are found using infrared telescopes. light bulbs. and it can help us find objects in the universe. What We Use it For Visible light is extremely important to humans. Aside from sight. Visible light comes in all the colors of the rainbow. glow sticks. We concentrate visible light to make lasers to use in . there are other important uses for visible light. Infrared telescopes also help us see through cloud cover so that we can see the surface of planets like Venus. Anything that glows or gives off light makes waves of what we call visible light. and fireworks. our eyes would not be able to see images of anything. Some other sources of visible light include: television and computer screens. how animals lose heat.

Satellites with cameras that capture visible light are continuously used to study and monitor the surface of our planet as well. On earth. computer and cell phone screens work. some light can be so intense that it can damage the receptor cells in your eye causing temporary or permanent blindness. However. Ultraviolet Light . We also study our own sun using visible light to understand its structure. special light bulbs are made that can emit UV light like the ones that are found in tanning beds.everything from surgery. Ultraviolet Light Things That Produce Ultraviolet Light Ultraviolet light (or UV) waves are just beyond the range that our eyes can see. The color of a star's light indicates how hot the star is and also the types of gases that it is made of. to CD players to laser pointers. Visible light waves also make our TV. These waves are generated a great deal by our sun and other objects in the universe like galaxies and comets. High powered lasers can also be damaging and will cause burns. "Black" lights also produce ultraviolet light. Is Visible Light Dangerous? Visible light is typically pretty harmless. What Can We Learn From It? Scientists can learn a lot about stars by observing the color of light they give off.

Luckily. people still need sunscreen to block the portion of the waves that make it through the atmosphere. The light of young stars. the Earth's ozone layer blocks out most of the sun's UV rays. therefore. Is It Dangerous? Ultraviolet light has wavelengths that are so small that it penetrates our skin and can affect the DNA in human cells.What is It Used For? Ultraviolet light has many uses you may not be aware of. UV lamps are. Many things in the universe have so much energy that they produce X-Ray waves. So with the help of a UV telescope. UV light kills bacteria and viruses. is mostly UV light. Some materials fluoresce or "glow" under UV light. UV telescopes also help us study the structure of the sun because the hotter parts of the sun produce the X-Rays Things That Produce X-Rays X-Rays are emitted from objects have that a LOT of energy. Ultraviolet light is also used to whitenteeth. UV light from the sun is a major cause of skin cancer. which is critical in absorbing calcium. What Can We Learn From It? Many of the objects in the sky emit ultraviolet light and scientists put UV telescopes on satellites to study these far away sources of light. Consequently. These materials are incorporated into various types of money. These objects . used to sterilize many things such as surgical equipment and food containers. galaxies can look very different because we can actually see all of their stars. allowing counterfeit bills to be detected when ultraviolet light is shined on them. for example. However. UV light also stimulates our skin cells to make vitamin D. Due to its high energy waves.

supernova remnants. view tissues X-rays also airports. Some of these objects can't even be seen using regular light telescopes. Are They Dangerous? X-Rays are very high energy waves and will cause tissue damage if you are exposed to them for too long. What They are Used For X-Rays have their extremely atom). and customs offices. Even though our sun emits large amounts of X-rays.include the sun. The shields reduce the area that is actually exposed to the radiation. What Can We Learn From Them? X-rays are produced from objects in the universe that are extremely hot or high energy. X-rays can also be used to study the auroras that occur near the poles of the Earth. and the gases of supernova remnants. This is why heavy lead shields are used when X-rays are taken. Astronomers use X-rays to study black holes. Eventually. X-ray exposure can create tumors and various types of cancer. we have developed machines that can produce X-rays that we use for various purposes. Technicians who work in X-ray labs protect themselves with larger shields or by leaving the room. On earth. we mostly use X-rays to see X-ray machines are used medically to inside the body like people's skeletons. we are protected from this radiation because it gets absorbed by our atmosphere. the ability to penetrate things due to small wavelengths (about the size of an result. black holes. comets. have important security applications at events centers. As a inside things. neutron stars and even some comets. Gamma Rays .

gamma rays are generated by nuclear explosions and some radioactive materials. a slightly radioactive substance is introduced to a person's body. If unborn or young children are exposed to gamma ray radiation. What They Are Used For Gamma rays have amazing medical applications. gamma rays are focused just on the area where the cancer cells are. gamma rays are emitted as huge gamma ray bursts. Doctors can then track the radiation in order to see how certain organs are functioning. What We Can Learn From Them . Doctors can also use gamma rays for diagnostic testing. serious mutations can occur. When nuclear bombs were used in the past. Are They Dangerous? Due to their extremely high energy. Gamma rays are also efficient at killing bacteria and are used for sterilizing surgical instruments and food. Gamma ray bursts can release more energy in 10 seconds than the sun will release in 10 billion years! Here on Earth. neutron stars and around black holes. In this case. They are produced only by the most violent and energetic events. These high energy waves are used for radiation therapy on cancer patients because they can kill the cancer cells. gamma rays are very dangerous. In space. Even small doses can lead to cancers and cell damage. by supernovas. In this type of therapy. not the explosion itself. it was the radiation that had the most deadly effect.Things That Produce Gamma Rays Gamma rays have the highest frequency and most energy out of all the electromagnetic waves.

. Gamma rays can also be used to study the composition of planets and determine which elements they are made of. the formation of black holes.8 billion light years away can be detected by gamma ray telescopes. and the structure of supernova explosions. Astronomers use gamma ray telescopes to study distant gamma ray bursts. Even events that are 12.Gamma rays are useful in studying very distant objects in the universe.