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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light


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Courtesy of NASA.

This is a picture of Jupiter taken in infrared light (light beyond red). Jupiter gives off a lot of this type of light. This is the same light that people give off because their bodies are warm. In the picture you can see places where a lot of infrared radiation is given off by Jupiter (bright white in the picture) and then other places where something is keeping the radiation from reaching us. These places appear black.

If you look at Jupiter in visible light, you will see that it is covered in clouds arranged in bands. The cloud bands that you see on Jupiter block the infrared radiation from leaving the planet. Holes in the clouds let heat through from the deeper and hotter parts of Jupiter's atmosphere.

Click on the picture. This picture shows Jupiter in infrared light and next to Jupiter two people whose pictures were also taken in infrared light. The parts of the people not covered by clothes are sending off a lot more infrared light than those parts covered by clothes. The clothes on the people and the clouds on Jupiter both block the infrared radiation.


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Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Look at the bed below the body of the sleeping man. 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 (not just people) release infrared light. Warmer objects give off more infrared light. Very hot objects radiate other types of light as well. Click on the picture to see the infrared...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

What kinds of light can people see? Our eyes can see visible light. When it passes into our eyes different types of visible light create different sensations that we see as colors. ...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

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....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