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Light spectrum

  1. May 22, 2005 #1
    Is it possible to see the radio spectra, X-ray, or microwave etc like birds can see the UV spectra? If so what might/does it look like?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2005 #2
    i vote no.
  4. May 23, 2005 #3


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    Our eyes are insensitive to light at those frequencies. I don't think you can visualize a 'new' color. How would you explain to a blind person what the color red looks like?
  5. May 23, 2005 #4


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    Some patients have had surgery to replace the lens of their eye with an artificial lens and later reported seeing "new colors" that they could never see before. Investigation of the phenomenon revealed that these patients were seeing a little ways into the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. We had a discussion about it quite some time ago here at the forums, I will try to find it.
  6. May 23, 2005 #5


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    It would be biologially impossible to "see" radio or microwaves - their wavelengths are too long to be absorbed directly by cells.
  7. May 23, 2005 #6
    im not saying it has to be biological
  8. May 23, 2005 #7


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    Then what do you mean by "see"? If you mean seeing using our eyes, then that's extremely limiting. We have evolved in such a way that our eyes are only sensitive to a very limited range of EM radiation which we call the visible spectrum. We do not need to use our eyes in detecting other forms of EM radiation beyond the visible range.

    The fact that we can't "see" these other spectra with our eyes somehow makes your question rather moot, doesn't it?

  9. May 23, 2005 #8
    ok let me put it this way. could there be a machine that could observe some of the other spectra? like infared with radio waves or something?
  10. May 23, 2005 #9
    Have you ever seen an infra red camera or night glasses used for 'seeing' at night? Most ccd chips (in digital imaging devices) can detect some infra red. In total darkness, they will easily 'see' infra red. Point your TV remote at a video camera and press record whilst you press a button - you will 'see' and record, infra red!

    Specialist devices can be used (eg by the military) to see clearly at night by viewing Infra red, ie heat. However, to see the image, this has to be converted to visible light, otherwise, we wouldn't be able to see it.
  11. May 23, 2005 #10


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    And radio waves can be used to 'see' in the form of Radar.
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