What Does Infrared Reveal?
||This warm-blooded cat is covered
with fur. In the infrared images,
you can see the cat’s warm glowing
eyes and the heat from the cat’s
ears and mouth area. The cat’s fur
keeps her warm by trapping her
body heat. Can you see the cat’s
warm infrared pawprints?
Infrared light can penetrate some materials that visible light
cannot travel through. Notice, in the visible light image, that
you cannot see the man’s hand in the bag. With an infrared
camera, however, we can detect the heat from the man’s arm
and hand and “see” through the black bag. Infrared light can
also penetrate thick smoke and fog.
Can you tell what animals are in these pictures? See the lower right corner of the page for the answers.
||The photo on the left is a "zoomed out" view of
part of the famous Orion Nebula taken by Hubble.
Some stars can be seen in the lower left part of the
photo, but you can only see dense dust in the rest
of the photo. You can't really see anything in the
area inside the light blue outline, but you can in the
right photo, which is a near-infrared picture taken
by Hubble's NICMOS camera. See how the infrared
light pokes through the dust and shows newborn
stars (yellow), which otherwise you couldn’t see.
A = Monkey, B = Giraffes, C = Chicken, D = Turtle, E = Horse