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905-A: Electromagnetic Wave Basics

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905-A: Electromagnetic Wave Basics

BACK to Ladder The Electromagnetic Spectrum: Quantitative

Before diving into your study of electromagnetic waves, it is important that you know all of the following material. Much of this was covered in a previous unit, but it is such foundational knowledge, it never hurts to go over it more than once.

First, review this list of facts on electromagnetic waves:

Video from NASA on Electromagnetic Waves:

The video comes from this NASA page on the electromagnetic spectrum.

True or False:
  1. Mechanical waves move faster than electromagnetic waves.
  2. Mechanical waves can move through a vacuum.
  3. Electromagnetic waves can move through a vacuum.
  4. Electromagnetic waves are always transverse.
  5. Electromagnetic waves can be transverse or longitudinal.
  6. There are seven types of electromagnetic waves.
  7. Electromagnetic waves are made of oscillating electric and magnetic energy.
  8. As you read this page, Raging Martians are Invading Venus Using X-ray Guns.
  1. Copy the seven types of electromagnetic waves twice. Yes, it’s repetitive, but a little bit of copying does help you remember things.

Fill in the blanks of the following paragraph using items from the word bank. Each word is used once.

Word Bank
    An electromagnetic wave is a type of wave consisting of oscillating
  1. _______________
  2. and
  3. _______________
  4. energy. Electromagnetic waves always come in tiny little pieces called
  5. _______________
  6. , and all electromagnetic waves move at a speed of
  7. _______________
  8. . Electromagnetic waves are different from another type of wave, called a mechanical wave. Electromagnetic waves are capable of moving through a
  9. _______________
  10. , while mechanical waves are not. Electromagnetic waves are all
  11. _______________
  12. waves, while mechanical waves can be either transverse or longitudinal waves. Electromagnetic waves all move much much
  13. _______________
  14. than mechanical waves. There are seven different types of electromagnetic wave. One of these types is
  15. _______________
  16. light, while the other six are all
  17. _______________
  18. .

Answer the questions below in 2 - 3 sentences.

  1. You can see the sun but you cannot hear the sun. And the sun is making lots and lots of noise, as much as thousands of atomic bombs exploding every second. Explain why you can see the sun but not hear it.
  2. By using the concepts and vocabulary on this page, explain why you see lightning before you hear thunder.

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