Why are X-rays named after a letter of alphabet? What makes the X-rays pass through solid objects?

When scientists are not able to understand some phenomenon thoroughly they use the symbol X to denote it. The German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen who discovered X-rays in 1895 had not properly understood the mysteries of his own discovery. So the newly discovered rays came to be denoted by the symbol X.

The X-rays are very penetrative rays having much shorter wavelength than that of the visible light. So they are able to penetrate some objects which are opaque for the visible light. E.g. when X-ray photograph of a patient is taken these rays fully penetrate the soft muscles, are somewhat absorbed in highly dense muscles and are absorbed to a great extent in hard boned. The image in X-ray photograph shows the skin and soft muscles as completely black portion through which X-rays have penetrated and as white portion those parts of the body in which X-rays have been absorbed.

Additional reading:
X-ray (Wikipedia)





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