Wavelength Explorer

Wavelength Explorer applet written by Joseph V. Benik, Jr., Dr. Melissa Hayes-Gehrke, and Dr. Alberto Bolatto We acknowledge support from a CAREER award by the National Science Foundation, grant AST-0955836, and from a Cottrell Scholar award by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, grant 19968.

This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Image credit: NASA Science
Using the applet
  1. Use the drop-down box at the top left to select an object for examination
  2. Use the slider on the right to select a wavelength
  3. Note: You cannot select a new wavelength until the animation has finished
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Why do astronomers take so many different images of each galaxy?
  2. Astronomers use the different images to learn about different objects within each galaxy, since different types of objects emit different wavelengths of light.


  3. What is a galaxy?
  4. A galaxy is a group of billions of gas clouds and stars orbiting around a common center. A typical galaxy is 100,000 light-years across. One light-year is 9.46x1012 km or 5.88x1012 miles.


  5. Why are some of the images better quality than others?
  6. The images are collected from a variety of different sources. The images were taken by many different telescopes, some of them space-based and in orbit. All attempts were made to use the highest quality images for the wavelengths being examined.


  7. What telescopes were used?