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Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Colour and frequency

Thinking a bit more about the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum lately as I've been discussing it in several of my classes. Here's a random thought for you:

Our radio waves, those used to transmit information, are around us all the time, but we cannot see them because they exist outside our visible range of frequencies. Our visible range is, in fact, set by the blackbody radiation curve of our Sun. Go here, EM Spectrum and our Sun, for more information. Basically, the Sun, due to its composition, outputs the most within what we call the visible spectrum. Life on Earth developed to see within this spectrum as that was the most prominent.


Now, many animals, apparently, can see outside of our "normal" spectrum, Google Answers with some interesting links. Take that one step further, imagine an alien species whose sun outputted at a higher frequency. Their visible spectrum corresponding to our ultraviolet, or even X-rays. So, now we have an alien species who sees X rays, but not what we would consider "normal" colour. Now, if they developed radio devices, devices which transmitted signals outside their visible range in order to communicate, maybe some of those signals would be within our visible spectrum.

What I'm getting at here is this: Imagine you saw an alien talking on his phone and blue shimmering waves of light were shooting out of his phone toward his nearest cell phone tower!

Sorry for all that lead up, just to get there, but I wanted to make sure you could follow along, plus I think it's interesting. Thanks for reading!

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