Assume that a happy insect resides in the centre of a circular water puddle. The insect shakes its legs on a regular basis to create noises that pass through the water. If the disturbances begin at a single place, they will spread outward in all directions from that point. Because all of the disturbances are going through the same medium, they will all travel at the same speed in all directions. A sequence of concentric circles would be created by the bug’s shaking, as illustrated in the diagram to the right. At the same time, these rings would reach the boundaries of the water puddle. The disturbances to impact the puddle’s edge would be detected at the same frequency by an observer at point A (the left edge of the puddle) (at the right edge of the puddle). In actuality, the frequency through which vibrations reach the puddle’s border matches to the bug’s frequency of causing disturbances.
Assume that our insect is travelling to the right across the pool of water, causing two disturbances each second. As a result, observer B notices that the frequency with which disturbances arrive is greater than the frequency with which disturbances are generated. Each successive disturbance, on the other hand, must travel a greater distance before reaching observer A. As a result, observer A notices a lower frequency of arrival than the frequency at which the disruptions occur. The overall impact of the bug’s motion (the source of waves) is that the observer facing the insect sees a frequency more than 2 disturbances per second, while the observer facing away from the bug sees a frequency less than 2 disturbances per second.
When an item vibrates, it emits sound waves, which are a form of energy. These acoustic waves move from their source through a medium, such as air or water, to our eardrums, where our brains transform the pressure waves into words, music, or messages we can understand.
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The Doppler Effect
When the source of waves moves in relation to an observer, the Doppler effect is noticed. The Doppler effect is described as a perceived upward shift in frequency for watchers facing the source and an apparent downward change in frequency for watchers facing away from the source generated by a moving source of waves. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the impact isn’t caused by a change in the source’s frequency. The bug is still creating disturbances at a rate of 2 per second in the case above; it simply seems to the observer who the bug is approaching that the disturbances are occurring at a frequency greater than 2 per second. Because the distance between observer B and the bug is reducing while the distance between observer A and the bug is rising, the effect is only visible.
The Doppler effect may be seen in any form of wave, including water, sound, and light. Because of our encounters with sound waves, we are most familiar with the Doppler effect. Perhaps you recall a day when you were driving along the highway and a police car or emergency vehicle approached you. The pitch of the siren sound (a measure of the frequency of the siren) was high as the automobile approached with its siren blaring, and then quickly dropped as the car passed by. That was the Doppler effect: a sound wave created by a moving source seems to change in frequency.
In Astronomy, the Doppler Effect
The Doppler effect fascinates astronomers who use information about the shift in frequency of electromagnetic waves emitted by moving stars in our galaxy and beyond to derive information about those stars and galaxies. The theory that the universe is expanding is based on studies of electromagnetic waves generated by distant galaxies. Furthermore, the Doppler effect may be used to determine particular information about stars inside galaxies. Galaxies are globular groupings of stars that spin around a central mass point. If a star rotates in its cluster in a direction away from the Earth, electromagnetic radiation emitted by such stars in a distant galaxy seems to be altered downward in frequency (a red shift). If the star is spinning in the direction of the Earth, however, there is an upward shift in frequency (a blue shift) of such detected radiation.
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