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So why does the atmosphere block gamma rays but not UV rays?

  1. Sep 22, 2012 #1
    Or light rays for that matter. Where does the window open in the atmosphere on the em spectrum, UV? Why is that?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 22, 2012 #2
    it has to do with the how the various levels of energy in different frequencies interact with the various molecules in the atmosphere

    for example, UV rays are mostly absorbed by the ozone layer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_layer

    infrared rays are apparently most absorbed by water vapor

    visible light is apparently low enough energy to not excite oxygen, but too energetic to excite molecular vibrational frequencies of molecules in air.


    since the atmosphere is not the same everywhere, there are different places that absorb different kinds of EMR. But by the time you get to the surface, a lot of it has been absorbed.
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