When people think of night vision they think of dramatic spy movies and undercover secret agents. Although it is a common feature in the world of action and science fiction, this technology is also a very accessible reality. Many are dubious or sceptical about whether night vision actually works but the answer is definitely positive. Night vision goggles and binoculars are just two of the products available that use this technology. On a clear, dark night it is possible, when using this equipment, to see objects almost 200 metres away.
Night vision usually works by employing one of two methods. The first is image enhancement which operates by harnessing the miniscule fractions of light, including the very upper and lower ends of the infra red spectrum, and magnifying them to the extend where they can be viewed and observed with ease. These small amounts of light that are not usually perceptible to the naked eye allow you to view images that would usually be impossible. The second method is thermal imaging. This type works by trapping the higher end of the infra red spectrum, which is only usually detected as heat, and converts it into light on images. For example a warmer object such as a person emits more light than a cooler object like a building or stationary car.
Night vision was originally used by the army to detect enemy targets after dark. It is still used in this way by the military but its uses have expanded into surveillance and navigational purposes too. Security companies and the Police often use both types of night vision devices. Forensics have utilised night vision technology to discover buried evidence or items that have been hidden. However, devices such as night vision binoculars can be used at home for your own personal enjoyment or can be used for hobbies like animal watching at night.
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