Shop Windows to the Universe

Please help support Windows to the Universe, and our activities to help Earth and space science teachers, with a tax-exempt donation today!
Visible light is just a small part of the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is very familiar to us. However, there are several other forms of electromagnetic (EM) radiation, such as X-rays, radio waves, and ultraviolet and infrared "light". Together, these different types of EM radiation make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

Each section of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum has characteristic energy levels, wavelengths, and frequencies associated with its photons. Gamma rays have the highest energies, the shortest wavelengths, and the highest frequencies. Radio waves, on the other hand, have the lowest energies, longest wavelengths, and lowest frequencies of any type of EM radiation. In order from highest to lowest energy, the sections of the EM spectrum are named: gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet radiation, visible light, infrared radiation, and radio waves. Microwaves (like the ones used in microwave ovens) are a subsection of the radio wave section of the EM spectrum.

Last modified June 23, 2005 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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

Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation is the result of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. The wave of energy generated by such vibrations moves through space at the speed of light. And well it should... for...more

Photon

Light is very strange. Sometimes it is best to think of light as a series of waves. At other times, it is useful to think of light as a swarm of particles. When we think of light as particles, we call...more

Radio Waves

Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation. A radio wave has a much longer wavelength than does visible light. We use radio waves extensively for communications. Radio waves have wavelengths as...more

Watching stars pulsate from Tenerife

I am Katrien, a Belgian astronomer. I have been working in several European countries and I am currently based in Paris, France. My research is very exciting as I study stars that pulsate! This means...more

Saturn's Aurora

Have you ever seen the Southern or Northern Lights? Did you know that Earth isn't the only planet that puts on these beautiful light shows, also known as the "aurora"? Auroral displays have also been observed...more

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST is credited...more

Atomic Physics & Particle Physics

Atoms and the minute particles from which they are made strongly influence the nature of many phenomena that play out their roles on astronomical scales. The fields of atomic physics and particle physics...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA