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Electromagnetic Spectrum
October 30, 2012


Very Light Frequency. Source: NASA
Very Low Frequency (VLF)
(3kHz - 30kHz)
Dynamic Spectrograph of a VLF "Whistler".
Low Frequency. Source: NASA
Low Frequency (LF)
(30kHz - 300kHz)
STEREO/WAVES (SWAVES) uses radio imaging to study coronal mass ejections.
Medium Frequency. Source: NASA
Medium Frequency (MF)
(300kHz - 3000kHz)
Non-Directional Beacons utilize Medium Frequency radio frequencies to deliver directional information to aircraft. NASA and the FAA are working together to improve non-directional beacon technology.
High Frequency. Source: NASA
High Frequency (HF)
(3MHz - 30MHz)
The QuickScat, scatterometry satellite captures images of ocean wind patterns on Earth.
Very High Frequency. Source: NASA
Very High Frequency (VHF)
(30MHz - 300MHz)
NASA utilizes the VHF band to study the thickness of sea ice.
Ultra High Frequency. Source: NASA
Ultra High Frequency (UHF)
(300MHz - 3000MHz)
NASA astronauts use UHF systems as backups for their voice communication systems.
Super High Frequency. Source: NASA
Super High Frequency (SHF)
(3GHz - 30GHz)
The Defense Satellite Communications System satellite constellation uses SHF to relay important information for the military and the government.
Extremely High Frequency. Source: NASA
Extremely High Frequency (EHF)
(30GHz - 300GHz)
The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrophy Probe (WMAP) mission is working to discover the geometry, content, and evolution of the universe by making a variety of skymaps.
Infared. Source: NASA
Infared (IR)
(.003 - 4 x 10^14 Hz)
The GOES satellites use infared technology to view and track hurricane paths.
Visible. Source: NASA
(4 - 7.5 x 10^14 Hz)
Terra uses the visible light spectrum to take true color images of the Earth and its features.
Ultra Violet. Source: NASA
Ultraviolet (UV)
(7.5 x 10^14 - 3 x 10^16 Hz)
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory is studying the sun- from its core to its outer corona to its outer wind.
X-Ray. Source: NASA
(3 x 10^16Hz - Upward)
The GOES satellites use an X-ray imager (SXI) to photograph and study the sun.
Gamma Ray. Source: NASA
Gamma Ray/Cosmic Ray
SCaN does not utilize Gamma Rays or Cosmic Rays to study the universe, however, it utilizes X-Rays to study the Gamma Rays and Cosmic Rays.

The electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of all frequencies of electromagnetic radiation that propagate energy and travel through space in the form of waves. Longer wavelengths with lower frequencies make up the radio spectrum. Shorter wavelengths with higher frequencies make up the optical spectrum. The portion of the spectrum that we can see is called the visible spectrum, however, NASA utilizes a number of tools that allow us to communicate and create images utilizing almost every single component of the electromagnetic spectrum in one way or another.

› Radio Spectrum
› Optical Spectrum
› Characteristics of Electromagnetic Spectrum

Electromagnetic Spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of Radio and Optical Spectrum.
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Page Last Updated: August 9th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator