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The uses and dangers of electromagnetic radiation

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The uses and dangers of electromagnetic radiation

What is electromagnetic radiation?

The electromagnetic spectrum is a name that scientists gave to different types of radiation when referring to them as a group. Radiation is an energy that spreads out as it goes. For example; visible light is part of that spectrum, the type that comes from a fire or a light, radio waves are another example, like the ones that are you get on AM radios.

There are seven segments to the electromagnetic spectrum; Radio, Microwaves, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma rays. Radio is largest wave length, but the smallest frequency and Gamma rays are the opposite. All of the radiation act like light, and even though they all have different wave lengths and frequency’s they travel at the same high speed; 300,000,000 Meters per second (speed of light). All of them are given of by stars in space; however some of them are absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere.image00.png


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Visible: This is the part that we see; it is emitted by many things, from light bulbs to stars, also by fast moving particles hitting each other. The wave length is 0.5 x 10^-6, the frequency is 10^15.image02.png

Ultraviolet rays: The sun is a source of UV radiation this makes are skin tan and helps are body produce vitamin D. Stars and other hot gases in space emit UV radiation. The wave length is 10^-8, and the frequency is 10^16.image02.png


X-rays: Doctors uses these to look at bones, and dentists to look at teeth. It works by “firing” the photons into your body, the atoms in your flesh let them pass through but materials like metal “reflect” them. Since calcium is a metal we get an accurate image of your bones. Hot gases in the universe also emit X-rays.

The wave length for X-rays are 10^-10, and the frequency is 10^18.

Gamma-rays: Radioactive materials give off gamma-rays, radioactive materials can be natural or man made. Large Particle Accelerators can generate gamma-rays.

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Ultraviolet radiation can also be harmful. The sun is a source of UV radiation, when you go out in the sun UV radiation causes burns. In some cases it can even cause skin cancer. To protect your self you can; wear sun block, sit in the shade, or wear a T-shirt.

X-rays can be quite dangerous. There has been a link made between having X-rays and getting cancer, and although they doctors need to use them they are harmful. To protect yourself you need to try not to subject yourself to unnecessary radiation.

Gamma-rays are not very common but can be extremely dangerous. This is because of the amount of energy in gamma-rays. A gamma-ray photon has enough energy to damage the cells in your body and make them radioactive, and gamma rays easily penetrate your body. Gamma-rays are not very common so you won’t come in contact with them, but if you do wear a lead vest.  

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