Light Fact Sheet
Light travels at an amazingly speed of 300,000 km per second (186,000
miles per second). Light directed by a fiber optic takes about 1/8 second to
go around Earth, thus making telephone communication possible from anywhere on
Earth. Light can go around Earth 5 times while a ball drops from a height of
Light travels in straight lines, thus shadows can be produced behind
Light can be redirected by mirrors, fiber optics, and lenses.
Light is composed of many colors classified by its wavelength. One way
to remember the colors of the rainbow is the name "ROY G. BIV" for
the colors Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. A sequence of
colors is a called a spectrum. Besides the visible colors that
we can see in a rainbow, "light" has many other wavelengths with
names such as x-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, microwave, and radio waves.
Light can be considered a particle with no mass, called a photon, or a
wave much like an ocean wave.
Light is a form of energy. For example, sunlight feels warm on our
skin. Without sunlight, Earth would be too cold for our existence.
Scientists use light for many of their studies. For example,
scientists can determine the composition of the planets and stars from their
Light of Many Colors Experiment
Introduction: A prism or diffraction grating will disperse the light from a
lamp into its many different colors. The sequence of colors is called a
spectrum. Different lamps have different spectra because each lamp emits light
uniquely based on its material and its temperature. One way to remember the
colors of the rainbow is the name ROY G. BIV for the colors Red,
Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.
Lamp Types: Tungsten lamps (normal light bulbs), fluorescent lamps (tube
light bulbs), and arc lamps (neon, mercury, or other gas-filled lamps)
Procedure: View each different kind of lamp with a prism or diffraction
grating. Use crayons or color markers to draw the spectrum as you see it.