Hawaii Space Grant


The Hawai‘i Space Grant Consortium hosted the fall meeting of the National Space Grant Directors Council in October, 1999. Following the lively and productive business meetings, many of the participants flew to the Big Island for three days of field excursions to Volcano National Park and to the observatories atop Mauna Kea. UV bead bracelets became a favorite field accessory thanks to Art and Rene Kimura, Program Director and Coordinator for Future Flight Hawaii. These beads have been an integral part of Future Flight's explorations of ultraviolet radiation and the ozone layer. By popular demand, we present UV bead-ordering information and educational briefings.


Ultraviolet Detecting Beads may be ordered online. These links are listed as a courtesy and are provided for information only without endorsement by Hawai‘i Space Grant.

Steve Spangler Science   (Will open in a new browser window.)
in Englewood, Colorado.
Toll free phone number: 1-800-223-9080
Fax: 303-795-9936
Educational Innovations, Inc.   (Will open in a new browser window.)
in Norwalk,Connecticut.
Toll free phone number: 1-888-912-7474
Fax: 203-229-0740


The UV-sensitive beads contain a pigment which changes color when exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the Sun or other UV light source. The pony beads are not, however, affected by visible light. They will remain white indoors, or when shielded from UV light. (Excerpted from the Educational Innovations Inc. product description.)


Simply put, ultraviolet (UV) is the invisible radiation that gives you a sunburn. UV radiation can injure your eyes if you are exposed to it for a long enough time. Colors fade and plastics crack after long exposure to UV radiation. It can damage crops and microscopic plants in the oceans. It can contribute to air pollution through photochemical smog. Most ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is blocked by ozone in Earth's upper atmosphere.

Glass, most plastics, special UV-absorbing films, sunglasses, and sunscreens absorb UV photons. Clothing provides shade from UV radiation. You can test the effectiveness of these articles by using them on your UV Detecting Beads.

General information on UV radiation is available from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center:
Electromagnetic Spectrum from Imagine the Universe!
Ultraviolet Waves from the Student's Site.


The ozone layer in the stratosphere keeps 95-99% of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation from striking Earth. General information on ozone can be found at:
NASA Facts on Ozone: What is it, and why do we care about it? from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Ozone Teacher's Guide from NASA's Observatorium.

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Communications: Linda Martel
Updated JUNE 2004.
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