Long Waves to Short Waves

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This diagram shows six electromagnetic waves. Each wave corresponds with a colour within the visible spectrum that an observer might recognise.


Remember that:

Description

Long Waves to Short Waves

TRY SOME QUICK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET STARTED
Red and orange are two of the colours in the visible spectrum with the longest wavelengths.
Red has the longest wavelength whilst violet has the shortest.
The unit used to measure wavelength is the metre. Because the size of electromagnetic waves varies, different prefixes are used to aid measurement. Here are six examples: kilometre, centimetre, millimetre, micrometre, nanometre and picometre.

About the diagram

About the diagram

This diagram shows six electromagnetic waves. Each wave corresponds with a colour within the visible spectrum that an observer might recognize.

Remember that:

Some key terms

The perception of colour by an observer results from properties of light that are visible to the human eye. The visual experience of colour is associated with terms like red, blue and yellow.

The visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum is called the visible spectrum.

  • The visible spectrum is the range of wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum that correspond with all the different colours we see in the world.
  • As light travels through the air it is invisible to our eyes.
  • Human beings don’t see wavelengths of light, but they do see the spectral colours that correspond with each wavelength and colours produced when different wavelengths are combined.
  • The visible spectrum includes all the spectral colours between red and violet and each is produced by a single wavelength.
  • The visible spectrum is often divided into named colours, though any division of this kind is somewhat arbitrary.
  • Traditional colours referred to in English include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through visible light to high energy gamma rays.

  • There are no precisely defined boundaries between the bands of electromagnetic radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • Visible light is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

ROYGBV is an acronym for the sequence of hues (colours) commonly described as making up a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

Visible light is the range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation perceived as colour by human observers.

  • Visible light is a form of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Other forms of electromagnetic radiation include radio waves, microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.
  • Visible light is perceived by a human observer as all the spectral colours between red and violet plus all other colours that result from combining wavelengths together in different proportions.
  • A spectral colour is produced by a single wavelength of light.
  • The complete range of colours that can be perceived by a human observer is called the visible spectrum.
  • The range of wavelengths that produce visible light is a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation.

Wavelength is a measurement from any point on the path of a wave to the same point on its next oscillation. The measurement is made parallel to the centre-line of the wave.

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