In our current inspection industry, infrared cameras are an excellent way for an inspector to reduce their clients’ risk. This technology allows you to see heat in what is known as the visible light spectrum.
The visible light spectrum is self explanatory. There are 7 colours, but in total nine perceptions to the human brain. The two perceptions that are not colours are black and white. The human brains perception of black is the complete absorption of the visible light spectrum. The human brains perception of white is the complete reflection of the visible light spectrum.
The visible light spectrum is just one of the seven different types of light. The light spectrum is more technically known as the electromagnetic spectrum. The illustration below best depicts this scientific fact.
You will notice the acronym ROY G BIV is placed above the visible light spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet are in order according wavelength. In the illustration above, infrared is situated next to the colour red, which is in the visible light spectrum. Infra is the latin term for less than. Infrared has a longer wave length and carries less energy than all of it successors. This is the reasoning behind its official name. Infrared means less than red.
The electromagnetic spectrum is a bi-product of a chemical process known as nuclear fusion. Since the birth of the star we call our Sun, it has been performing a vital function for the presence of life on our planet. The primary purpose of a star is to perform the function of an element factory. In a star’s early stages of existence, it will take two hydrogen atoms and fuse them into a helium atom and so on as we travel up the periodic table. Nuclear fusion is only possible when a celestial body gains enough mass to create the pressures and therefore the heat that is required to fuse elements together.
Light travels at almost 187,000 miles per second. The definition of a light year is light travelling at 187,000 miles per second for an entire earth year. The distance light can travel in one earth year is unfathomable to the human brain. If a star is 500 million light years from earth, then it takes 500 million years for the light from that stars surface to reach your eyes so your brain can perceive it.
I would like to leave you with a fact that may cause you to call me crazy. The next time you look up at the night sky, almost every star you can focus on is so far away that the light you are perceiving left the surface of that star hundreds of millions if not billions of years ago. Understand that you are viewing something that took place long before the dinosaurs ever walked the earth. You are witnessing an event that took place in the past.
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