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Study through the electromagnetic spectrum

14-15 year old students

In this experience, explore the large portion of the spectrum of light that is invisible to human eyes, discover the information it contains, and a new view of the cosmos....



To prepare for a visit to ESAC, a number of materials are recommended, which can be divided into two categories:

  • Material for students: Videos that can be watched in the classroom to enhance this Experience.
  • Material for teachers: Information about the activity that students will carry out during the visit. Click here to download the  Scientific Case.


We see our world in a huge variety of colour. However, there are other “colours” that our eyes can't see, beyond red and violet, they are: infrared and ultraviolet. Comparing these pictures, taken in these three “types of light”, the rainbow appears to extend far beyond the visible light.


Multispectral rainbow. Courtesy of Dr. A. Dominic Fortes, Earth Sciences


In addition to ultraviolet and infrared, there are other “colours” which are hidden from sight. The whole set of “colours” is called the electromagnetic spectrum, which is divided into different ranges. In order, from the highest to the lowest energy, they are: gamma rays, X rays, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, microwaves, radiowaves.

Electromagnetic spectrum. Source: Wikipedia.org


To see the cosmos in light beyond the visible part of the spectrum, special instruments are needed, with different types of detectors depending on the wavelength. These instruments/detectors, allow astronomers to obtain a huge amount of information about the Universe. 

Galaxy observed at different wavelengths. Credit: http://www.caosyciencia.com/img/img310712.jpg


In this Space Science Experience, students will match images of astronomical objects to the corresponding wavelength.


Nowadays, the European Space Agency has a fleet of satellites that observe the Universe in all the ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. This is to enable astronomers to obtain a complete picture of the different process that take place around astronomical objects.

ESA'S fleet across the spectrum. Credit: ESA

Let's go study the sky in all these “colours”!