Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Exeter-Milligan Update: Wave Action

Wave Action by Matt Nicholas, Exeter-Milligan Science Instructor

In astronomy this week, we are investigating all regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The introduction to this chapter has us looking at the structure of a wave. To demonstrate waves we use a large spring (pictured). The students take turns demonstrating the different characteristics of waves: Amplitude, Wavelength, and Frequency. This activity helps the students see the inverse relationship between wavelength and frequency. We will go on to discuss the invisible regions of light, such as radio waves, micro waves, infrared, ultraviolet, X-ray, and gamma rays. The study of different forms of light is key to astronomy, because we can only study stars and planets from a distance. We will soon be talking about doppler shifts and how studying light from stars can help us find planets around other stars that may also harbor life!!

Photo: Broc Mueller (kneeling) and Derek Luzum (back to camera) create a wave using a long spring while Marissa Howard and Brody Kresak look on trying to classify the wave's properties.

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