Alien Vision: Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum with by Austin Richards

By Austin Richards

Austin Richards takes readers on a visible travel of the electromagnetic spectrum past the variety of human sight, utilizing imaging know-how because the ability to "see" invisible gentle. Dozens of colourful photographs and transparent, concise descriptions make this an fascinating, available technical booklet. Richards explains the sunshine spectrum, together with noticeable gentle, and describes the complex imaging applied sciences that permit people to synthesize our personal model of "alien" imaginative and prescient at diverse wavelengths, with purposes starting from hearth battling and legislations enforcement to botany and medication.

the second one version expands present content material, explores contemporary components of analysis, and offers new illustrations that display the variety of imaginative and prescient during the spectrum.

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Additional resources for Alien Vision: Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum with Imaging Technology, Second Edition (SPIE Press Monograph Vol. PM205)

Sample text

Aspx 32 Chapter 2 When we use technology to image the world in the thermal infrared waveband of the electromagnetic spectrum, we are exploring unknown territory, seeing things that no animal has ever seen. This is truly alien vision! Thermal images can look very different from visible-light images of the same scene. This is especially true in darkness, or what we call darkness because there is little or no visible light. The thermal infrared world is never really dark, and objects that are just slightly warmer than the background around them can be detected with thermal imaging, provided they do not have shiny surfaces.

It cannot be reflected sunlight, since the camera is solar blind. Corona is a phenomenon observed around sharp tips of electrical conductors in the presence of a strong electric field. The electric fields ionize gas in the vicinity of the tips. When the gas is air, one sees a faint blue-violet glow emitted by nitrogen and other gases in our atmosphere. The name corona, which means “crown” in Latin, comes from the crown- or brushlike shape of the discharge from the end of conductors such as lightning rods during an electrical storm, faulty high-voltage transmission lines, or ship’s masts (sailors call it Saint Elmo’s Fire).

For example, near-ultraviolet imaging has proven to be quite useful in locating fingerprints. Fingerprint analysis has long been a vital tool to law enforcement, since fingerprints are often left behind at crime scenes and, like DNA, are unique to an individual. But they are often very difficult to see with the unaided eye, even with a magnifying glass, as finger oils are transparent to visible light. However, these same finger oils are very reflective to near-UV light, and this property can be exploited to detect fingerprints on nonporous surfaces.

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