Comparing Wavelengths: Radio to Gamma

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To find out more about the diagram above . . . . read on!

Comparing Wavelengths: Radio to Gamma

Look carefully at the diagram at the top of the page. Now check out the following questions (and answers)!

  1. Name the unit used to measure the wavelength of electromagnetic waves?
  2. What unit is used to measure wavelength within the visible spectrum?
  3. Which has the longer wavelength, red or violet light waves?
  4. Which has the shorter wavelength, a radio wave or a gamma ray?
  5. What are the two forms of electromagnetic radiation just outside the visible spectrum?

About the Diagram

Introducing the diagram! Read back and forward between the image at the top of the page and the explanation below!

This diagram compares the wavelength of four electromagnetic waves and arranges them according to their position within the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Radio waves are shown at the top. They have the longest wavelength of the four types. These waves are shown as a dull red. They are invisible to the human eye.
  • Red has the longest wavelength of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Violet has the shortest wavelength of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Gamma rays are shown at the bottom. They have the shortest wavelength of the four types. These waves are shown as a dull violet. They are invisible to the human eye.
  • The unit of measurement of wavelength is the metre.
  • When the wavelength of electromagnetic waves is very short, metres are sub-divided into micrometres, nanometres and picometres.
  • When the wavelength of electromagnetic waves is long, metres are converted into kilometres.

Remember that:

  • The position of an electromagnetic wave within the electromagnetic spectrum is determined by its wavelength (or frequency).
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of decreasing wavelength and increasing frequency: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of the increasing size of wavelength and decreasing frequency: gamma rays, X-rays,  ultraviolet radiation, visible light,  infrared radiation, microwaves and radio waves.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through visible light to high energy gamma rays.

Follow the blue links for definitions . . . . or check the summaries of key terms below!

Some Key Terms

Move to the next level! Check out the following terms.

Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through ...
Read More (without leaving this page)

Electromagnetic wave

An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation. An electromagnetic wave is formed as electromagnetic radiation propagates from a light source, travels ...
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Wavelength

Wavelength is a measurement from any point on the path of a wave to the same point on its next ...
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