How It Works

THE ELECTROMAG­NETIC SPECTRUM

Visible light makes up only a small portion of the spectrum. Have a look at where other electromag­netic waves feature

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Radio 10cm to 100km plus

Very useful waves with a whole range of applicatio­ns, like broadcasti­ng radio and television.

Microwave 1mm to 10cm

Microwaves are used for cooking food and satellite communicat­ions.

Infrared 700nm to 1mm

Almost everything emits infrared waves, allowing night-vision cameras to see perfectly in the dark.

Visible light 390 to 700nm

The only way you’ll read a copy of How It Works is by your eye receiving visible light.

Ultraviole­t 10 to 390nm

They might give you a nice tan, but these rays from the Sun can also damage your skin.

X-rays 0.01 to 10nm

A useful wave in medicine, since they can penetrate clothing and skin but not bone.

Gamma rays <0.01nm

Nuclear explosions and gamma-ray bursts in space both emit these invisible waves.

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