Skip to main content

Science Briefing: Learning about the Universe through Patterns in Light

5 May 2022
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM EDT

Science Briefing: Learning about the Universe through Patterns in Light

In this edition of NASA’s Universe of Learning Science Briefings, we will discuss an important tool used by astronomers – spectroscopy – which spreads out light into its component wavelengths like a rainbow, allowing us to see the patterns in brightness caused by atoms and molecules to learn about objects in space.

Dr. Julia Roman-Duval will provide a brief introduction to the concept and tools of spectroscopy, and present an exciting application of ultraviolet spectroscopy that is used to study the properties of young stars with the ULLYSES program, the largest ever executed with the Hubble Space Telescope.

Dr. J.D. Smith will discuss how his group uses information encoded into wavelengths of light longer than the eye can see to understand how dusty galaxies make new stars, build supermassive black holes, and enrich the cosmos with heavy elements.

Dr. Jeremy Drake will describe how the physics of the energetic universe can be revealed through spectroscopy at X-ray wavelengths.


Contact Information
Have questions? Please contact the project coordinator.

Event Materials


Southern Crab Nebula


The NASA’s Universe of Learning Science Briefings are professional learning telecons for the informal science education community, done in partnership with the NASA’s Museum & Informal Education Alliance, now found on NASA CONNECTS. These monthly thematic briefings highlight current NASA astrophysics explorations and discoveries from across the suite of NASA astrophysics missions. NASA scientists and engineers provide contemporary science results, and are able to respond to listener questions during the telecon. NASA-developed education and outreach resources, matched to the monthly theme, are included in every briefing.

In order to participate in the telecon and ask questions of the scientists, please join NASA’s Museum & Informal Education Alliance.