Pharmacy is the As the wavelengths of light decrease, they increase in energy. X-rays have smaller wavelengths and therefore higher energy than ultraviolet waves. We usually talk about X-rays in terms of their energy rather than wavelength. This is partially because X-rays have very small wavelengths. It is also because X-ray light tends to act more like a particle than a wave. X-ray detectors collect actual photons of X-ray light – which is very different from the radio telescopes that have large dishes designed to focus radio waves!
X-rays were first observed and documented in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, a German scientist who found them quite by accident when experimenting with vacuum tubes.
A week later, he took an X-ray photograph of his wife’s hand which clearly revealed her wedding ring and her bones. The photograph electrified the general public and aroused great scientific interest in the new form of radiation. Roentgen called it “X” to indicate it was an unknown type of radiation. The name stuck, although (over Roentgen’s objections), many of his colleagues suggested calling them Roentgen rays. They are still occasionally referred to as Roentgen rays in German-speaking countries.
The Earth’s atmosphere is thick enough that virtually no X-rays are able to penetrate from outer space all the way to the Earth’s surface. This is good for us but also bad for astronomy – we have to put X-ray telescopes and detectors on satellites! We cannot do X-ray astronomy from the ground.