Multiwavelength Universe (printable)

Want to explore the electromagnetic spectrum? This is an activity introducing multi-wavelength astronomy, developed initially in coordination with the Herschel Space Observatory outreach team. The main part is an activity where students match up images objects at different wavelengths. A powerpoint presentation is included. The activity is suited to KS3, GCSE and A-level, but can be used at “science clubs” with students of those and younger ages.

Activity outline

The activity includes the following sections, which can be used in whatever combination is suitable. See the activity outline document below for more information. The activity is aimed primarily as Ks3 upwards (age 11+), but has been used as a transition activity at upper-KS2 (9-11).

  • Introduction to EM radiation (5-10 mins)
    • Black Body Radiation [A-level only] (10-15 mins)
  • Frequency/wavelength calculations (15-20 mins)
    • Develops numeracy skills using frequency and wavelength
    • Examples of use of wavelengths (“real life” and astronomy)
  • Wavelength matching activity [paper based] (20 mins)
    • Visual activity matching images of astronomical objects
    • Suitable for all ages
    • Requires images to be printed out
  • Alternative: online version of this image-matching part of this activity.
  • Additional research (e.g. homework)
    • Develops independent research skills, digital competancy, literacy skills
    • Links provided about objects for more information
    • Suggested question sheet to guide further investigation
    • Example Powerpoint poster template to insert text/images into

Downloadable files

Curriculum links

Key Stage    

Age Group          

Topics covered

Upper – KS2   




Light and the Electromagnetic Spectrum


KS3, KS4








Electromagnetic Spectrum
Digital Competency
Independent Research






Electromagnetic Spectrum
Black-body radiation
Digital Competency
Independent research