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Infrared Waves

naturalyme

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Have you ever wondered what other animals see when they can see more electromagnetic waves than we can see? Well I started with this question and found that a common electromagnetic wave that other animals can see is infrared waves. There are three different types of Infrared waves, near, mid and far. In the following You Tube video Imre describes how you can take pictures of near Infrared waves using your camera. Even though it wasn't exactly what I was looking for the pictures give you an idea of what an animal might see and since my brothers are both photographers it reminded me of them.

One of the facts that I found fascinating about Infrared Waves was that the far Infrared waves actually represent thermal waves which represent heat. Thermal Heat can be felt as heat from the sun and also can be found in fast food restaurants. Far infrared waves are closest to microwave waves which can explain why they can be felt as heat. Snakes would then use far infrared waves to see since they detect what is around them by the heat sensing organs in their face. Vampire bats can also use infrared waves to sense their warm blooded prey. Bugs use their antennas to detect infrared rays one reason is to detect prey. Beetles on the other hand detect infrared waves in order to find forest fires. After finding a forest fire they lay their eggs in the burnt wood.

A different example is why NASA uses infrared waves to take pictures of objects in space. They take pictures of Earth in Infrared to help people study the clouds. For example they can see different layers of clouds with different temperatures. On NASA's website you can see a picture of Earth with darker warmer colored clouds closer to the Ocean and whiter clouds inland and close to the arctic. The colors you see with visible light also are made up infrared light as well. In one of their pictures you see a tree and waves reflecting off the grass one wave is visible light, which is why we can see that the grass is green, and the other is infrared light. When you take a picture of the grass and the trees with an infrared camera or camera lens, you see that the grass is mainly red which means it is either reflecting or giving off the infrared waves hitting it. This would explain why in the video they get better pictures when it's a bright sunny day because with more of the sun's rays exposed to the Earth there is a better chance that the Infrared waves will hit the plants, and reflect off different surfaces. Also some of the infrared waves will make the objects hotter that it is reflecting against also helping the camera to detect the infrared waves.

Links to websites used:

http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/infrared.html

http://www.mapoflife.org/topics/topic_311_Infrared-detection-in-animals/

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SInce infrared waves can detect plant life on earth, does this mean that NASA could take pictures of other planets by using infrared waves and searching for other planents with life on it?

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