Explainer: Understanding light and electromagnetic radiation

Here's a simple guide to the different types of electromagnetic energy that move as waves.

By Janet Raloff, 19:58 PM April 8, 2008

Credit: NASA/Imagine the Universe

Energy travels throughout the universe at the speed of light in the form of electromagnetic radiation. What that radiation is called depends on its energy level.

At the really high-energy end of the spectrum, you've got gamma rays. You're probably familiar with a close cousin to these: X-rays. They're the ones doctors and dentists use to probe for unusual structures inside your body. Radio waves fall at the extreme other end. Those radio waves are the ones that deliver music and news broadcast...

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