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Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory Science Support Center

Gamma Rays and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Gamma rays are the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation, with more than 10,000 times more energy than visible light photons. The entire electromagnetic spectrum is pictured here, from the lowest energies (radio) to the highest (gamma rays).

All but the highest energy gamma rays are stopped by Earth's atmosphere so gamma-ray telescopes must be flown at high altitudes such as those attained by research balloons or orbiting spacecraft. Because each band of electromagnetic radiation can provide key information about physical processes in the Universe, astronomers increasingly rely on observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. For high-energy processes, gamma rays are important.


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This page was last modified on Monday, 01-Aug-2005 13:41:42 EDT.

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