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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light


Click on cartoon to see how different a flower can look to a bee

Bees can see ultraviolet light. This is a type of light at higher frequencies than the violet portion of the visible spectrum. It is more energetic than visible light and can cause our skin to sunburn after too long of an exposure. Some flowers have interesting markings when viewed in ultraviolet light that attract bees. Pigments in the petals absorb ultraviolet light and thus appear dark.

Click on the cartoon to see how different a flower can look to a bee in ultraviolet light compared to it's rather plain appearance to us in visible light.

There are other forms of light (called radiant energy). Some carry information to us about violent explosive events in the universe, some tell us about the birth of stars, others tell us how our sun changes over time. All these views of the world would be ours, if we could just see beyond the limits of human vision. Modern technology gives us these views.

But first we have to understand where radiant energy comes from.



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Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Ozone in the Stratosphere

About 90% of the ozone in the Earth's atmosphere lies in the region called the stratosphere which is found between 16 and 48 kilometers (10 and 30 miles) above the Earth's surface. Ozone forms a kind of...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects radiate in the infrared. The warmer the object, the higher the frequency and intensity of the radiation. Very hot objects give off other types of radiation in addition to infrared. Click...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

The awesome power of a giant black hole was revealed by looking at this galaxy in three different types of light. The picture that you see is of Centaurus A, a very peculiar galaxy. A galaxy is just a...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF