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Nature of Electromagnetic Waves

When we represent the frequency, amplitude, and wavelength of any electromagnetic radiation on a graph we see a wave like in water. Is this just a geometric representation or do the “packet” aspects of these waves actually move physically like the mathematical representation.

Asked Jack Cassidy

Hope that the following videos explain the concept better

English: Electromagnetic waves can be imagined...
English: Electromagnetic waves can be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields. This diagram shows a plane linearly polarized wave propagating from left to right. The electric field is in a vertical plane and the magnetic field in a horizontal plane. http://weelookang.blogspot.com/2011/10/ejs-open-source-propagation-of.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Light, Time and Vacuum

Why does the light needs time to travel through vacuum?Is there something makes it needs time? How did we prove that  there is nothing in vacuum?

Answer:

When there is no medium, there is nothing to oppose the propagation of light and therefore it moves with a constant velocity. All electromagnetic waves including light travel in vacuum with the same velocity (3 x 10^8 m/s). Since the energy is to travel from one point to another, a finite time is also required.

English: Electromagnetic waves can be imagined...

The velocity of light is experimentally determined by many different methods. (Romer’s methos, Fizau’s method, Foucault’s method, Michelson’s method etc.)

When light travels in a medium, whenever light interacts with the matter, the atoms absorb light and are re – emitted and the average speed in a medium will be less than in vacuum. In vacuum, there is no matter t interact and that’s why there light travels with maximum velocity.

(If you remember the structure of atom, most of the space inside an atom is vacuum. The speed of light decreases only when it encounters matter. So, when we consider a particular medium, the speed of light is a constant in it)

Why light is not accelerated in vacuum?

If vacuum has no mass …. then why isn’t a light beam accelerated in space ?? – Asks Akil Raj

Answer:

The speed of light in a medium or in vacuum is constant. It is neither accelerated or decelerated while propagating. But, the speed of light in a (optically) denser medium is less than the speed of light in an optically rarer medium.

The speed of light is maximum in vacuum and it is constant and is equal to 299792458 m/s as theoretically established by electromagnetic wave theory too.

9If you look at it this way; “In vacuum there is no particle to oppose the propagation of light, therefore it should travel with a constant velocity, because to increase or decrease the velocity some external influence is essential)

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