Friday, February 18, 2005

How interesting! (Science day!)

The website of a man who can see in ultraviolet light, unlike the rest of us. The reason is that he had an artificial lens inserted into one of his eyes to treat a cataract - our lenses filter out UV, but the replacement doesn't. He experiments with cameras, in order to show us something of what he sees...

The flower on the right was photographed in normal light, the one on the left in ultraviolet (he goes into the technique in some detail). Once you've oohed over those, you might like to follow the link above and look at the comparison of two Monets, painted before and after he had similar surgery. Thanks to Ray Girvan. Pictures mirrored to be kind to his site.

Also via Ray, this crazy-arsed nut's site about using improvised filters to explore the edges of your own visual spectrum. I say crazy-arsed nut because, as well as the obvious caution about not looking at the sun, he mentions driving with his goggles on. Which was especially foolish, because he found that the red traffic lights were invisible. Stupid boy! Another link from Ray's explains something I'd been wondering about - I recently came into possession of a digital camera, and I've found that images from it tend to have an odd bluish cast. I had enough scientific awareness to realise that the camera must have a different spectrum to me and that this hadn't been corrected to provide "white balance" - now I know that, yes, digital cameras pick up infra-red and some ultraviolet light.

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