Have you ever wondered why you can feel the warmth of a fire without touching it? Or how a remote control works without any visible connection to your TV? The answer lies in the fascinating world of infrared wavelengths!
Infrared (often shortened to IR) is a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light and radio waves. But unlike these, we can’t see infrared with our naked eyes. It’s invisible to us, but it plays a crucial role in our daily lives. Infrared waves are all around us, emitted by the sun, our bodies, and even many of the electronic devices we use every day. The size of an infrared wavelength, or how long it is from one wave to the next, typically falls between about 700 nanometers (nm) and 1 millimeter (mm). To give you an idea of how small that is, a single strand of human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick. So even the largest infrared wavelengths are still much smaller than a hair’s breadth!
While we can’t see infrared waves, we can feel them as heat. This is why you can feel the warmth of a fire without touching it. The fire is emitting infrared radiation, which our skin can sense as heat. Infrared is also used in many common devices. For instance, remote controls use infrared signals to communicate with your television or other electronic devices. Infrared detectors can sense changes in heat, which makes them useful in things like night-vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras. The world of infrared is invisible to our eyes, but it is essential to our everyday lives. From feeling heat to using remote controls, infrared waves, despite their tiny size, have a big impact!
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