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.

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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Emergency Preparedness and Response: Radiation Emergencies -- Measuring Radiation." May 10, 2006. (April 20, 2011)http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/measurement.asp
  • Mayo Clinic. "CT scan." Jan. 12, 2010. (April 20, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ct-scan/MY00309
  • NASA. "The Electromagnetic Spectrum." March 27, 2007. (April 20, 2011)http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/xrays.html
  • NASA. "Most Distant X-Ray Jet Discovered Provides Clues to Big Bang." NASA News. Nov. 25, 2007. (April 20, 2011)http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/nov/HQ_03367_xray_jet.html
  • NobelPrize.org. "Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen - Biography." (April 20, 2011) http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1901/rontgen-bio.html
  • Radiological Society of North America. "Radiation Exposure in X-Ray and CT Examinations." Nov. 15, 2010. (April 20, 2011)http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty_xray
  • Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "Frequently Asked Questions: Advanced Imaging Technology." (April 20, 2011)http://blog.tsa.gov/2009/11/response-to-oops-backscatter-x-ray.html
  • University of Colorado. "X-Ray Safety." Physics 2000. (April 20, 2011)http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/xray/xray_abs3.html
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Radiation Protection: Health Effects." March 24, 2011. (April 20, 2011)http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/health_effects.html
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "RadTown USA: Medical X-Rays." July 19, 2010. (April 20, 2011).http://www.epa.gov/radtown/medical-xrays.html
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Radiology and Children." June 23, 2008. (April 29, 2011)http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048578.htm
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Reducing Radiation from Medical X-Rays." Feb. 19, 2009. (April 29, 2011)http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm


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