You are on page 1of 3

Exercise 2

Read the following text quickly and answer the questions.

THE DISCOVERY OF X-RAYS

Except for a brief description of the Compton effect, and a few other remarks, we have postponed the
discussion of X-rays until the present chapter because it is particularly convenient to treat X-ray spectra after
treating optical spectra. Although this ordering may have given the reader a distorted impression of the
historical importance of X-rays, this impression will be corrected shortly as we describe the crucial role
played by X-rays in the development of modern physics.
X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Roentgen while studying the phenomena of gaseous discharge.
Using a cathode ray tube with a high voltage of several tens of kilovolts, he noticed that salts of barium
would fluoresce when brought near the tube, although nothing visible was emitted by the tube. This effect
persisted when the tube was wrapped with a layer of black cardboard. Roentgen soon established that the
agency responsible for the fluorescence originated at the point at which the stream of energetic electrons
struck the glass wall of the tube. Because of its unknown nature, he gave this agency the name X-rays. He
found that X-rays could manifest themselves by darkening wrapped photographic plates, discharging
charged electroscopes, as well as by causing fluorescence in a number of different substances. He also found
that X-rays can penetrate considerable thicknesses of materials of low atomic number, whereas substances
of high atomic number are relatively opaque. Roentgen took the first steps in identifying the nature of X-
rays by using a system of slits to show that (1) they travel in straight lines, and that (2) they are uncharged,
because they are not deflected by electric or magnetic fields.
The discovery of X-rays aroused the interest of all physicists, and many joined in the investigation of
their properties. In 1899 Haga and Wind performed a single slit diffraction experiment with X-rays which
showed that (3) X-rays are a wave motion phenomenon, and, from the size of the diffraction pattern, their
wavelength could be estimated to be 10-8 cm. In 1906 Barkla proved that (4) the waves are transverse by
showing that they can be polarized by scattering from many materials.
There is, of course, no longer anything unknown about the nature of X-rays. They are
electromagnetic radiation of exactly the same nature as visible light, except that their wavelength is several
orders of magnitude shorter. This conclusion follows from comparing properties 1 through 4 with the similar
properties of visible light, but it was actually postulated by Thomson several years before all these properties
were known. Thomson argued that X-rays are electromagnetic radiation because such radiation would be
expected to be emitted from the point at which the electrons strike the wall of a cathode ray tube. At this
point, the electrons suffer very violent accelerations in coming to a stop and, according to classical
electromagnetic theory, all accelerated charged particles emit electromagnetic radiations. We shall see later
that this explanation of the production of X-rays is at least partially correct.
In common with other electromagnetic radiations, X-rays exhibit particle-like aspects as well as wave-
like aspects. The reader will recall that the Compton effect, which is one of the most convincing
demonstrations of the existence of quanta, was originally observed with electromagnetic radiation in the X-
ray region of wavelengths.
1. When were X-rays discovered?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2. Who discovered them?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
3. What are the four characteristics of X-rays?
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Read the following text quickly and choose the correct answer to each of the following questions.
A galaxy is a massive complex or system of stars, remnants of stars, an interstellar medium of gas
and dust, and dark matter. Some include multiple star systems, clusters, and interstellar clouds. Galaxies are
bound by gravity and contain from millions to trillions of stars. The size of some galaxies are measured in
units called parsecs, others are measured in light years. One parsec is equivalent to about 19 trillion miles
(31 trillion kilometres). An average galaxy may extend from 1,000-100,000 parsecs. A light year is the
distance that light travels in an Earth year. Light travels at nearly 300,000 km per second (180,000 miles). If
you were to calculate the actual size of a galaxy using numbers, rather than the aforementioned units, the
resulting figure would be impossible to understand or conceptualise. Galaxies are usually separated by
spaces that extend over millions of parsecs. These vast spaces are called intergalactic spaces. Despite the
vast distances between them, galaxies are often organised into clusters and superclusters. Clusters and
superclusters are then organised into sheets and filaments. A filament, defined as structures that form the
boundaries between large voids in the universe, are the largest known structures in the universe.
Types of Galaxies
Galaxies are usually classified according to their shape. Elliptical galaxies are round, spiral galaxies
are characterised by their long, spiralling arms, and peculiar galaxies are shaped irregularly, likely because
of the gravitational pull of a nearby galaxy. Scientists estimate the presence of 100 billion galaxies in the
universe.
Dark Matter
About 90% of the mass of an average galaxy is made of up mysterious, invisible masses called dark
matter. Dark matter is hypothetical; its actual existence is simply scientific and mathematical conjecture
(educated guess). Only its gravitational effects on visible objects can be observed (such as the rotational
curves of spiral galaxies). Some scientists think dark matter is concentrated in huge masses such as black
holes.
Our Galaxy
Our solar system lies within the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way galaxy contains over 200 billion stars
and has a diameter of up to 120,000 light years. Our solar system orbits around the Milky Way once every
200-250 million years. You can see the Milky Way galaxy on a clear night. It looks like a milky white band
across the night sky. The center of the galaxy is located in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. The
Milky Way is thought to be nearly as old as the universe itself. Some estimates age the galaxy at over 13
billion years. It is part of a cluster of galaxies known as the Local Group. Two smaller galaxies and a
number of dwarf galaxies actually orbit the Milky Way, the largest of which is called the Large Magellanic
Cloud. Considered an irregular galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud is thought to be about 160,000 light
years away from the Milky Way. Although our Milky Way is ten times larger, scientists estimate than 10
billion suns could fit in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The galaxy was first observed by explorer Ferdinand
Magellan, whom the galaxy is named for and looks like a small night cloud in the southern hemisphere.

1. Spaces in between galaxies are called _______.


A. interstellar clouds B. clusters C. intergalactic spaces D. solar systems
2. Galaxies are normally classified by their ______.
A. shape B. stars C. age D. size
3. A light year is the _______ in which light travels in one year.
A. velocity B. speed C. distance D. volume
4. Galaxies are mostly made of ________.
A. planets B. constellations C. dark matter D. stars
5. The shape of irregular galaxies is likely caused by the _______ of nearby galaxies.
A. orbit B. size C. gravitational pull D. rotation
6. Galaxies are measured in units called ________.
A. dark matter B. miles C. parsecs D. meters
7. The largest known structures in the universe are called ________.
A. filaments B. solar systems C. sheets D. galaxies
8. Our galaxy is part of a group of galaxies called the
A. Large Magellanic B. Cloud Solar System C. Milky Way D. Local Group
9. The Large Magellanic Cloud is a ________________ that orbits the __________________.
A. galaxy; sun B. star; sun C. galaxy; Milky Way D. star; Milky Way
10. The existence of dark matter is "hypothetical.'" What does hypothetical mean in this instance?
A. possible B. impossible C. calculated D. definite