Tuesday 14 February 2012

The other end of the spectrum

Ultraviolet isn't really my speciality. It's more difficult to shoot (best with quartz lenses) and doesn't really show anything that interesting ... with one notable exception.

Around 100 years ago, Tristán and Michaud investigated flowers in both infrared and ultraviolet. They were working in Costa Rica and published their findings in Scientific American amongst others. They found that while flowers tended to look bland in infrared, at the other end of the spectrum things got more interesting.

On the BBC web site there's a brief clip showing (from a programme called Growing a Planet) Professor Iain Stewart using a modified Nikon with special flash to produce false colour UV shots of flowers. If you've never seen this view of flowers then you should find this insects-eye view fascinating. It's called an insect's-eye simply because research has shown that some insects can detect UV and flowers have evolved to capitalise on that.

More on Tristán and Michaud sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Monday 13 February 2012

Simon Marsden: 1st Dec 1948 - 22 Jan 2012

I'm shaken to have just received an email from Cassie Marsden to say that Simon died on January 22nd. As you know I am an admirer of Simon's infrared work and he contributed to the Infrared 100 exhibition, although we never met. Our thoughts go out to Cassie and the rest of the family.

Friday 10 February 2012

BBC Sky at Night on Infrared

The current edition of Sir Patrick Moore's long-running BBCTV astronomy programme, The Sky at Night, is called Age of the Infrared (follow the link for the schedule). The program abstract says:
Space telescopes such as Herschel and Spitzer are peering at the dusty, dark cosmos and with their infrared eyes they can see the cold parts of the sky where stars are being born. Sir Patrick Moore discusses why the infrared is full of hidden delights, whilst Dr Chris North talks to Dr Amy Mainzer about NASA's infrared WISE telescope.
Origination is Sunday/Monday at five minutes past midnight (later in Northern Ireland) with several repeats on BBC Two, BBC Four and BBC HD. It will be on the iPlayer as well.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

More swords and ploughshares

Chris Lavers' Swords into Ploughshares exhibition, looking at the transfer of military technology into civilian life, and including thermal imaging, is running now until March 30th in the Naval Library at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon.