We all remember as children being told to eat up our carrots as it would ‘help you to see in the dark’. (If that’s the case, then rabbits must have exceptional night vision!)
The fact is, unless it’s a moonlit night or we have a particularly good torch, we really can’t see in the dark. Unless it’s completely pitch black, we can pick out shapes and objects in shadow, but we can’t read a book, see if there is an obstacle in front of us or drive at night without extra lighting.
However, today increasingly sophisticated night-vision goggles let us pick out people and objects so that we really can see in the dark. Good equipment lets you see somebody standing nearly a quarter of a kilometer away in the pitch black.
A James Bond Requirement
Night vision eyewear is a staple of spy films and books. Creeping along under cover of darkness, the secret agent uses his night-vision equipment to monitor the movements of an enemy or suspect undetected.
But does this equipment really work as well in real life? Does it really enable you to see under conditions where you would normally be faced with a blank wall of darkness?
Yes, various sorts of equipment can do this and they work in different ways.
The Secrets Of Thermal Imaging Technology
Perhaps the best known is a thermal imaging technology that works just as it sounds. Warm objects – such as people – give out more heat than items such as trees and buildings and they also tend to move!
Thermal imaging works by discovering the heat emitted by these objects which are caught on the upper part of the light spectrum. This technology allows the viewer to ‘see’ the object under observation through a thermal image.
The other type of night-vision goggles works by enhancing an image and collecting tiny amounts of light that would generally be unnoticed by our eyes and increasing it to a point where we are able to view the image.
Initially developed for stealth operations during the Vietnam War, night-optic goggles are now widely available to the general public as well as to the Armed Forces and night-seeing vision equipment for children can even be bought on Amazon. Playing hide and seek in the dark takes on a whole new dimension, as well as night-time games in the garden.