What Are Light Waves?

light-waves Credit: frankieleon/CC-BY-2.0

Light is made up of billions of tiny particles known as photons, which travel from one place to another place in waves known as light waves. Visible light waves are the only electromagnetic waves that the human eye can see. These waves are visible as the seven colors of the rainbow known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Visible light is a cluster of photons traveling, or moving, at a wavelength that is able to be seen by the human eye. All colors come from different wavelengths of light giving each individual color the human eye sees a wavelength of their very own. The first color of the spectrum, red, has the longest wavelength. The last color on the spectrum, violet, has the shortest wavelength. When all the waves are seen together, they produce a white light. The human eye can typically see electromagnetic waves between 400 and 700 nanometers. Invisible light waves above 700 nanometers are called ultraviolet light. The light waves located below 400 nanometers are known as infrared light waves. Extreme hot and cold temperatures do affect light waves the same as they do sound waves, however the effect is so minimal that it is not noticeable to the human eye.