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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This resource lets students interactively explore astronomical images produced from four types of telescopes: radio, infrared, x-ray, and visible-light.  Image sets include the Milky Way, the crab nebula, a supernova, and the most luminous star in our galaxy.  Students can easily compare how the various telescopes detect different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. (Includes background information and discussion questions.)
PBS Learning Media is a growing collection of more than 10,000 free educational resources compiled by researchers and experienced teachers to promote the use of digital resources in the classroom.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials on this page for a link to an "Infrared Gallery" by the same authors.  This collection features infrared images of objects on earth, including hot springs, animals, and Old Faithful geyser.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
- Instrumentation
= Telescopes
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Radiation
= Electromagnetic Spectrum
- General
- High School
- Middle School
- Informal Education
- Collection
- Instructional Material
= Activity
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2002 WGBH Educational Foundation, http://www.teachersdomain.org/terms_of_use.html
astronomy, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetic spectrum, heat emission, image set, infrared, infrared telescope, instrumentation, optics, radio telescope, x-ray telescope
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 18, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 5, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 28, 2009

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

3. The Nature of Technology

3A. Technology and Science
  • 6-8: 3A/M2. Technology is essential to science for such purposes as access to outer space and other remote locations, sample collection and treatment, measurement, data collection and storage, computation, and communication of information.

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M8. There are a great variety of electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, infrared waves, visible light, ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest.

11. Common Themes

11D. Scale
  • 6-8: 11D/M3. Natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)
  • A wave model of light is useful for explaining brightness, color, and the frequency-dependent bending of light at a surface between media. (6-8)
  • However, because light can travel through space, it cannot be a matter wave, like sound or water waves. (6-8)
  • Electromagnetic radiation (e.g., radio, microwaves, light) can be modeled as a wave of changing electric and magnetic fields or as particles called photons. The wave model is useful for explaining many features of electromagnetic radiation, and the particle model explains other features. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
  • Using the concept of orders of magnitude allows one to understand how a model at one scale relates to a model at another scale. (9-12)

NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Nature and Behavior of Light
Unit Title: Electromagnetic Radiation and the Spectrum

Over the past 100 years, there has been a revolution in our ability to understand light and its various forms of radiation. This image collection, produced especially for Teachers' Domain, is a fascinating glimpse of stars, the Milky Way, and the crab nebula, photographed using four different telescopes.  Students can compare how these objects look in visible light, infrared, x-ray, and radio imaging.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2002), WWW Document, (http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/).
PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths, (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2002), <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths. (2009, March 28). Retrieved February 8, 2016, from WGBH Educational Foundation: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/
Chicago Format
WGBH Educational Foundation. PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, March 28, 2009. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/ (accessed 8 February 2016).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2002. 28 Mar. 2009. 8 Feb. 2016 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2016}, Number = {8 February 2016}, Month = {March 28, 2009}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths
%D March 28, 2009
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D March 28, 2009
%T PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2016
%N 8 February 2016
%8 March 28, 2009
%9 application/flash
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/phy03.sci.ess.eiu.chandra/astronomical-images-in-different-wavelengths/

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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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PBS Learning Media: Astronomical Images in Different Wavelengths:

Is By The Same Author and Covers a Similar Topic As PBS Learning Media: Infrared Gallery

A related image set of images produced by infrared photography, also by the same authors.  It features images of objects on earth: coffee cup, ice cubes, warm and cold-blooded animals, hot springs, and more.

relation by Caroline Hall

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