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Friday, January 7, 2011

Part IV: The Current Debate; Electromagnetic Energy and Gauss Meters

See also Part I-III of the Current Debate under the July 2010 heading, Part V under January 2011 heading cover topics: AC vs. DC power, the atom and electron, how electricity flows though the human body and the infrared spectrum.
By Robin Strom Mackey
When embarking upon a series of articles about which EMF detector to choose for ghost hunting, I admit, I had never considered how in depth my research would become. What I did not understand at the outset, and hence what many people probably misunderstand about the electromagnetic field, is that different types of electromagnetic energy are not actually disconnected from one another, but are merely a portion of the larger spectrum of electromagnetic energy. Hence the microwave with which you warm your soup is simply on a different part of the spectrum from the type of ultraviolet light that causes your sunburn. The type of EMF detector you choose and purchase is calibrated not to read different types of energy, but to measure a certain part of the spectrum. Deciding which EMF detector to buy, therefore, becomes a matter of determining what portion of the spectrum you wish to measure.
Definition of Electromagnetic Energy
Electromagnetic energy is a combination of electrical impulses and magnetic force coupled together. The two forces move together in waves. The lower end of the spectrum has looser waves with the crests further apart. At the low end of the spectrum, and not shown on this graph are the Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) electro-magnetic fields of AC power, which we use to power most of our electric appliances. Above that (shown below) are the Intermediate Frequency Fields (IF) with the wave crests closer together. This is the radio wave and microwaves portions of the spectrum. The infrared spectrum is just below what is visible light to humans. Just beyond the visible light spectrum are the ultraviolet rays. Undoubtedly you’ve heard of ultraviolet rays in connection with using sunscreen on a hot day. These light rays are faster moving and thus have more energy which can be harmful to exposed flesh.

A Simple Definition of Electromagnetic Energy
Electricity can be static. For instance, when you break the electrical circuit by turning off a light switch, the electrons that would normally be shifting down the circuit from one atom to the next stall out and merely rotate around their own nucleus. Magnetism can also be static. Consider the magnets you use to pin important pictures to the refrigerator. However, when electricity and magnetism become coupled, and when one of these forces change, it causes a change in the other force. Both begin moving together in waves -electromagnetic waves. The magnetic and electric fields of an electromagnetic wave are perpendicular to each and to the direction in which the wave is moving. Electromagnetic waves appear impervious to such concerns as gravitation or friction. Once created, an electromagnetic wave will continue moving forever unless it becomes absorbed by matter (
Measuring the Electromagnetic Field
The electromagnetic field is measured by wavelength. Wavelength is the measurement of the top or crest of the waves from one wave to the next. The shorter the distance between waves the faster the wave is moving and the more energy it is giving off.

That energy is being expended is obvious, but what might not be obvious is that waves moving at different velocities and with differing wavelengths give off energy differently. For example microwaves and the farther region of the infrared spectrum give off thermal energy, energy we can feel as heat.

Frequency is another term for measuring wavelength and refers to how fast or slow the waves cycle in a second. Consider the radio wave for example. The distance between one crest of a wave and the next is the size of a building. Hence in one second one wave will have traveled by – or cycled through. Hence wavelength and frequency are interrelated; the larger the wave the lower the frequency or the fewer waves that will go by in a second. Conversely the closer the wave’s crests are to one another the more waves which will cycle by in a second and the higher the frequency. (
Common Terminology and Measurement Units
Undoubtedly you’ve seen these terms before, but probably never knew what they meant or what they measured. Below I’ve tried to compile a list of terms that will come in handy when trying to determine what an EMF detector measures.

Electric fields are measured in voltage (volts per meter). The higher the voltage the stronger the electrical field. Actual electrical current is not necessary to measure voltage. In other words electrons need not be moving down a circuit to be measurable. The human body generates weak electricity between 10 to 100 millivolts to power the heart and the central nervous system. This is not enough to power so much as a television which requires 25,000 volts to create a picture on TV.

Magnetic fields are measured in amps (amperes per meter A/m). Unlike an electric field, which can be measured even when current is not actually flowing, a magnetic field is created from the motion of the electricity moving in a circuit.
Because electricity and magnetism are intertwined the two can be measured using a related quantity measurement called a microtesla (µT).
A gauss unit is actually a measurement of the magnetic flux density, just as is the microtesla (µT) which is often the preferred measurement system in science.
Hertz is a measurement of the number of waves, called cycles that pass per second. AC power cycles through at an Extremely Low Frequency rate of 60 Hertz per second. Intermediate Frequency Fields (computer screens and anti-theft devices) measure around 300 Hz to 10 MHz Radio Frequency Fields (cellular telephone antennas and microwave ovens) measure from 10 MHz to 300 GHz (
Hertz Units Conversions
1 Hertz is a frequency of 1 cycle per second.
1000 Hertz = 1 kilohertz kHz
1,000,000 Hertz = 2 Megahertz MHz
1,000,000,000 Hertz = 1 Gigahertz
Watts refer to a measurement of electromagnetic waves in the radio wave region of the spectrum. Because the magnetic wave and the electric wave are so close together at this frequency they are measured, “as two components of an electromagnetic wave.” The power density of that wave is measured in watts per square inch (W/m2), to describe “the intensity of these fields (”

Gauss Meters and Flux
Gauss meters, which you may have noticed advertised on the web, measure the strength of a magnetic field. A gauss unit is actually a measurement of the magnetic flux density, just as is the microtesla (µT) which is often the preferred measurement system in science.
Magnetic Flux is the strength of the magnetic field in a specific region measured perpendicular to the flow. Near the poles the field and force are strongest, becoming progressively weaker away from the poles. The term flux is used because there seems to be a motion or flow as magnetism moves out of the north (+ area) pole, does a circuit and returns to the south (-) pole.
Sprinkling iron fillings on a piece of paper held over a magnet demonstrates this circulating pattern succinctly. Specific patterns form, and these patterns are called lines of induction. The direction of the filings demonstrate in which direction the magnetic field is flowing and the density (the number of lines passing through a unit area) shows the strength of the field (

The Gauss Meters work by giving off a tiny electrical current when they come in contact with a magnetic field. The current is amplified so that a meter is capable of showing the number of gauss units. Remember magnetic field strength, unlike electric field strength, cannot be measured unless it is coupled with electricity and moving in electromagnetic waves.

Electromagnetic Spectrum (1996) Retrieved January 6, 2011.
Jennifer. Infrared Imagery Springfield Paranormal Research Group

Layton, J. How Does the Body Make Electricity -- and how does it use it?

Magnetic Flux Definition Retrieved January 7, 2011.
Rowlett, R. How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurementthe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill retrieved January 6, 2011

Steiger, B. (2003) Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits and Haunted Places
Visible Ink Press. Canton, MI.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum: What are Electromagnetic Waves? (2007) Retrieved January 6, 2011
The Appearance on Electronic Video Capture Devices of Anomalous Images That Are Normally Not Visible to Humans. (1998-2002) Retrieved January 7, 2011.
Types of Electromagnetic Fields Retrieved January 6, 2011.
Using Alternate Light Spectrums for Paranormal Investigations (2003-2011) Long Island Paranormal Investigators. Retrieved January 7, 2011.

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