Light waves are a type of electromagnetic waves that are responsible for the sensation of sight. These waves can travel through a vacuum, such as space, allowing us to observe objects in space, from Earth.
Sound waves are mechanical waves that require a medium, (e.g. air, water or a solid substance) to carry their energy forward.
They are created by vibrations, like a plucked guitar string or a speaking voice, which cause compressions and rarefactions in the surrounding medium. These waves allow us to hear sounds, from the softest whisper to the loudest explosion.
The table below shows us the differences between light and sound waves.
|Light waves||Sound waves|
|Type of wave||Transverse||Longitudinal|
|Can they travel through a vacuum?||Yes||No|
|How are they detected?||Eyes and cameras||Ears and microphones|
|Can they be refracted?||Yes||Yes|
|Can they be reflected?||Yes||Yes|
he speed of sound is roughly 343 m/s, whereas the approximate speed of light through a vacuum is 300,000,000 m/s.