Published: 1:46 PM 10/31/2012
BY CRAIG PEARSON
As the average UFO spotting enthusiast knows, it can be a little more difficult than just picking up your favorite pair of binoculars or telescope and driving out to a hot spot and scouring the sky for flying mysteries.
Generally, unless it happens to be a very well lit night from a full or near full moon, you will not be able to see anything. This is because binoculars and telescopes are simply ways of magnifying only what our human eyes are capable of.
And simply put, humans do not see in the dark very well. So what can be done to remedy this and allow for a way to spot UFO’s in a bitch black or extremely dark environment? The answer is simple, increase how much can be seen by the human eye, or in other words, find a way to see in the dark.
Fortunately for UFO hunters and many other types of people, the technology for seeing in the dark has been around for quite some time. As it is so popularly called, night vision devices or night vision goggles, have gotten to the point where the technology is old enough and thus the price is cheap enough that anyone with a credit card can order a set or piece of night vision technology for a relatively cheap price.
The problem is though that not all night vision devices are equal despite some people thinking they are. The fact is that there are two completely different ways in which night vision works; and they both have to deal with the capture of the light in the infrared wavelengths.
The first and most common way is by enhancing what light is available (including that outside of human perception, i.e. some of the infrared spectrum) and amplifying it until human eyes can see it, the second focuses on capturing a thermal image through the main infrared spectrum.
Image enhancement takes what available light there is, and through a process of specialized plates and filters, gets focused then amplified through a special screen, the last screen in fact is what changes the image that cannot be seen by human eyes into one that can, and because of its composition it gives the image the highly recognizable green shading.
The process of boosting and magnifying the image, as with any optical device not just night vision, the image that gets output becomes more and more distorted the more it is magnified beyond its original form. Thus with these types of night vision devices, the images generated will be green and have a fairly grainy composition.
Thermal imaging devices work on an entirely different concept. Thermal imaging utilizes a special lens and sensor that capture the ‘image’ given off by the photons in the infrared wavelength spectrum. It actually is quite similar in how a digital camera works albeit having a different lens and sensor.
The image it captures has to be converted using a special processor, but once it has, the image given is that of an inverted black and white negative where the lightest parts are the warmest and the darkest parts are the coolest.
As the technologies are right now, thermal imaging offers a crisper image with a much further range for viewing and is thus more expensive and better for more conventional purposes; however it does rely solely on thermal output for an image to appear.
Image enhancing devices are generally cheaper and more easily available, and despite having a lower image quality, are generally better suited for finding since there is speculation that UFO’s might not always have an existent heat-signature. So using other means to detect them is more ideal if the sole way of detection through thermal imaging may be otherwise useless.
As far as image enhancing night vision devices go, there are multiple generations since the technology has been in existence since the World War II era. As the technology has changed over the years, they have been given different generational markers to denote the type of technology used.
From generations 0 through 2, i.e. from WWII through the late 1970’s, the technology was more often than not sub-par. For all uses, the previous generation, generation 3 is the most cost-effective version of image enhancing night vision. While generation 4 is a very recent development, it still is quite more expensive than generation 3 and can be much more difficult to obtain.
The advances in generation 4 from 3 are generally not big enough to be worth the strife of trying to obtain the newest version.
When planning your next UFO hunting trip, make sure you and your eyes are properly equipped with at least a generation 3 imaging enhancing night vision device. Doing so will guarantee the best chances at spotting and catching a UFO.