The Universe in X-ray Light

X-rays are emitted from regions where material is heated to 10 – 100 million degrees Celsius

International Year of Light Blog

When I stop and think about it, it never ceases to amaze me that radio waves, infrared light, which we experience as heat, x-rays and gamma-rays are all the same fundamental physical phenomenon – light, or electromagnetic radiation.   The thing that distinguishes these different kinds of light is the wavelength.  Think of waves on the ocean, and taking out a ruler and measuring the distance between crests – that is the wavelength, only for light we are measuring the distance between ripples in electric and magnetic fields. For radio waves the wavelength is the size of a building, for X-rays it is the size of an atom. Astronomers use light of all wavelengths to understand the nature of the universe.

X-ray astronomers use telescopes that collect the same kind of light that your dentist and doctor use to see through your skin to study some of the hottest, densest and…

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