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Fundamentals of Light

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The Electromagnetic Radiation Spectrum

Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, which is, in most simple terms, energy that does not require a medium to travel.

Electromagnetic radiation is made up of oscillating electric and magnetic fields which all move at the speed of light. At what speed do electromagnetic waves move? Describe the behavior of these electric and magnetic fields.

The equation c = \lambda f represents the relationship between the speed of light (c), the wavelength (\lambda), and frequency (f).

Describe how frequency is affected by wavelength in electromagnetic radiation.

Below is a graphic of the electromagnetic spectrum. What are the highest energy waves? The lowest?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

[Figure1]

Color

Colors that we see in day to day life are actually blends of different visible light frequencies.

When you see a colored object, the color you're seeing is actually the light that is not absorbed by the object and reflected from it.

What light is being reflected when you see a black object?

Objects that emit light are luminous and objects that reflect light are illuminated.

What are transparent, translucent, and opaque objects?

What is polarized light?

For guidance in answering these questions or for more information, look here.

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  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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