Surf's Up Dude!Waves in energy? Yup. Just like waves in the ocean and ripples in a pond... Energy can move in waves too. Think about when you drop a rock into a lake. You see the rings move out from that starting point. Those rings are waves from the source. Now think of the Sun as the source. Waves are coming out of the Sun. They are waves of energy.
Wave StructureAll types of light move in wave-like patterns. In each wave pattern are high points and low points. The distance between two high points, or low points, is called the wavelength. Scientists use the Greek letter lambda to describe that distance. Depending on what type of light you are talking about, each type has a different lambda, or wavelength. All of the wavelengths of light together are called the EM spectrum.
Wave MeasurementsWhen studying the wavelengths of light, scientists measure in nanometers. That is one-billionth the length of a meter (or 0.000000001 of a meter). We already explained that different types of light have different wavelengths. Something called ultra-violet light (UV) has wavelength of about 0.000002 meters.
One More TimeCompare different types of light. You will see that as you move up the EM spectrum and the wavelengths get smaller, those types of light have more energy. The big idea to remember is that light consists of both waves, and energy (transmitted with particles). EM radiation, like gamma waves and cosmic waves, has huge amounts of energy compared to a radio wave. When you look at the visible part of the spectrum, you will see that violet light is more energetic than light from the red part of the spectrum.
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What are Gamma Rays? (NASA/GSFC Video)
Useful Reference MaterialsEncyclopedia.com (Light):
Encyclopedia.com (Wave Motion):
Encyclopædia Britannica (Energy Bands):