Astronauts live beyond the Earth’s protective ozone layer and while they still are in the magnetosphere they are exposed to higher levels of radiation. Much of this radiation is emitted from the Sun in the form of visible and invisible light. In this lesson, students use a prism in sunlight to learn that light has frequencies and wavelengths that determine the colors of light we see. Then, students use ultraviolet (UV) sensitive beads to investigate UV levels of different light sources. Next, they build a spectrometer to measure light wavelengths including infrared and UV light levels in their environment. Finally, students research a local UV index to determine UV radiation around them and discuss the SPF levels for sunscreen.

This activity is suitable for students ages 10-14 years.

Interested in getting started? Go to What is the electromagnetic spectrum? for lesson materials.

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