Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Things to Know About X-Ray Radiation

It Tells Us Cool Stuff

X-ray radiation's use in astronomy gives us plenty of cool information about the universe.

Many events in space, ranging from black holes to comets and stars, give off unique radiation signatures. Although we generally clump all X-rays together, the ones coming from space are a bit different. They're created from natural phenomena in the universe that give off immense amounts of energy (and heat).

To measure X-ray radiation, or the energy from particles in space, scientists collect information using satellites outside Earth's atmosphere. Such X-rays give us clues to the origins of the universe and contribute to our perceptions of auroras that routinely line the night sky.

Back on Earth, scientists create X-rays with particle accelerators, which move electrons near the speed of light around a track until they emit beams of the radiation. This allows researchers to examine the atomic structure of materials -- both synthetic and environmental.

Want to learn more about X-ray radiation? Peruse the next page for more interesting sources.