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Take a Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum
Front cover of the Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum book

Explore the amazing world beyond the visible one with the Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum resources. Credit: NASA

Every day, electromagnetic waves surround us. We use these waves, but we can see only a small portion of them. They carry our cellphone calls and radio broadcasts, heat our food, and let us see in the dark.

The website Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum uses eight short videos and printed materials to introduce students to electromagnetic waves and their behaviors, as well as how scientists visualize these waves.

This resource presents the electromagnetic spectrum by introducing how we interact with these waves on a daily basis and how NASA scientists use the unique qualities of each wavelength to study the sun, planets and origins of the universe. EM waves measured by Earth-observing satellites help NASA scientists understand our Earth system and changing global patterns and climate.

Filled with incredible full-color representations, or visualizations, the video portion includes the following segments:
  • Introduction to the Electromagnetic Spectrum (or EM Spectrum)
  • Radio Waves
  • Microwaves
  • Infrared Waves
  • Visible Light Waves
  • Ultraviolet Waves
  • X-rays
  • Gamma Rays

The book contains sections on each type of EM wave and discusses how these waves originate, how they are measured, how they are visualized, and what scientists can study with them. Together, the book and videos take students on a tour of the different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

These materials are designed as supplemental instruction and can be used in formal classroom or informal settings for students in grades 5-12, undergraduates or adults.

Videos are available online, and the companion book containing great visualizations and information may be downloaded from the website. The videos are captioned for the hearing impaired.

Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum is available on the NASA website.

A webinar in which the product developer provides an overview of this material is available in regular video format  →.

The webinar is available with closed captions  →.

Tour of the Electromagnetic Spectrum was funded by NASA and developed by Indyne under the NASA Headquarters Information Technology Support Services, or HITSS, contract.

Brandi Bernoskie/Institute for Global Environmental Strategies