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Spy movies are often the first thing that comes to mind when people think about or discuss night vision technology. Do they actually work, or are they another form of moviemaking magic? In case you were wondering, the technology is very real and very effective. The standard set of night vision goggles will allow you to see a person standing 200 yards away on a cloudy, moonless night. Impressive, isnt it?

There are two different types of night vision technology. The first works on the principle of image enhancement. It works by collecting the minute amount of light contained in darkness, and amplifying it to the point where objects can be viewed. It even collects light from the lower end of the infrared light spectrum, which is generally imperceptible to the human eye.

The other way that night vision technology works is through a process known as thermal imaging. This process works by capturing the upper end of the infrared light spectrum. This part of the light spectrum is emitted in the form of heat, as opposed to light as we might recognize it. The warmer an object is the higher amount of this light is emitted.

There are some similar components in both night vision systems. Each of these systems is comprised of optics, some form of signal processing, and a viewing monitor. Image enhancement seems to be the prevailing technology contained in modern night vision systems. Both systems were developed, originally, for military use. In the United States, there are two classifications for night vision devices. The first is called MILSPEC, which refers to military specifications. The other is COMSPEC, which refers to commercial specifications.

This technology has been incorporated into a number of popular products, and put to use is many different ways. They are generally contained in three distinct categories; scopes, goggles, and cameras. Scopes are generally handheld or mounted on weapons, and are monocular. These are good for short-term viewing from a stationary position. Goggles are worn by the user and are binocular. As they are worn by the user, they are ideal for use over a longer period and during movement. Cameras are ideal for surveillance, as the images captured can be saved to a recording device or viewed on a remote monitor. This category also includes video imaging.

Night vision systems have come a long way since their early days of development. They are now used by law enforcement agencies and private investigators on a daily basis. They are also used by civilians for wildlife observation, security, surveillance, and personal entertainment. Night vision devices have become an integral part of the modern arsenal. Remember, not everything you see in the movies is make-believe.

This article was posted on November 14, 2005



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Q&A:

Chosen One asked Night Vision Binoculars?

I don’t have enough money to buy real over 200 dollars night vision right now so i order a 50 dollars toy. Ever heard of EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars, yes yes i know it’s a toy but i was just wondering, would i be able to look up at the sky and see some stars with them?
I’ve seen some videos on youtube with people outside with them and recording the lcd screen inside of them but they never pointed it to the sky. It works with IR light so i was wondering, maybe right before the sun fully goes down i would be able to see star light or maybe if i bought a ir illuminator.

IDK what do you think?

BTW this was 3rd in the suggested list

And got the following answer:

No. Not with a $50 toy. You’ll struggle with even a $200 pair. It is not for nothing that military models cost $10,000+. Cheaper models show very little detail at all.

The Alamo. asked How much does a war cost?

And got the following answer:

It depends on who is fighting it and how you are fighting it. You can’t possibly answer this question because there are too many factors to consider. If the U.S. is fighting we are going to send very expensive technology and well trained soldiers to combat. If a plane crashes, you have lost the total value of the plane and any costs you spent on the soldier’s training. If the plane does not crash or get destroyed, you do not need to replace the plane so there is a salvage value in the used plane. How many people are in the army? Each one of them needs to be paid, they need to eat, they need living quarters. Each one needs a weapon, a uniform, accessories like binoculars. They may need hightech equipment like night vision goggles. The U.S. often sends aid in the form of food and medical supplies to the country we are attacking. That costs money too. Gasoline to power all the vehicles. What about the people running inteligence in this country, satelites in space, and many other things. The thing you need to know is that war is VERY expensive and usually the spoils are small (very little pay off) unless you take all the resources of the country.

marisascool asked What kind of telescope should I buy?

I am a beginner, I haven’t used a telescope since I was a little kid, so it needs to be easy to use. I want a telescope that me and my six year old can use to look at planets. And I don’t want to spend over $120.

And got the following answer:

Realistically you won’t get a good telescope that cheap, if you want good observing for not much money get a decent pair of binoculars (brands like Meade Orion and Bushnell.) I will give you pointers for finding your own telescope but first I would recommend this telescope: http://www.telescope.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=238462&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=3&iSubCat=334&iProductID=238462 It’s a very good value (most scopes of comparable stats are $500-700.)

Ok here are the tips for scope shopping: Pay attention to aperture (this is the width of either the main mirror or lens, depending on the type of telescope.) this is the most important stat, contrary to popular belief a telescope’s main purpose isn’t to make little things look big (microscope) but to gather light, and you can’t do this with a small aperture, for general observing don’t buy anything smaller than 120mm.

Don’t get hung up on magnification stats, some brands (not the real quality brands though) advertise great claims of magnification. (400-500x+) Magnification is a product of the eyepiece, which are inexpensive and interchangeable, the magnification is the least important stat because of the low cost of eyepieces. When you wish to buy more eyepieces go with good brands as a poor eyepiece could ruin the visual quality of even the best most expensive telescope, go for brands like Meade Plössl or Orion. Also don’t overpower your telescope, don’t buy the most powerful eyepiece available, thing of zooming up on an image, it might look bigger but eventually the quality becomes terrible, a small, detailed image is always better.

Since you’re not looking to spend much money, avoid go-to telescopes (Ones with motorized movement.) I personally own a go-to Meade ETX-125 (approximately $1,000, 300 of which goes to the computerization) but since you want to go cheap you should spend every cent on quality optics and not computers, buy some sky charts or view the online one at www.skyandtelescope.com

Remember to consider portability, the best telescope is the one you and your kid observe with the most, even if it is of lesser quality.

Alright now for some observing tips: When observing the moon do so at half or crescent stages, it is uncomfortably bright when full, (although it won’t damage your eyes, it will temporarily mess up your night vision potentially though.) The brightness also flattens detail and makes the craters and mountains look boring. Also use a low or medium power eyepiece.

When observing the planets do so with medium magnification, you can see the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and the brilliance of Venus. Uranus is rarely visible with the naked eye and looks like a blue disk in a telescope. To see Neptune you need a small telescope, and it looks essentially the same as Uranus. Pluto requires a large telescope, (at least 200mm in aperture.) even then though, all you will be able to see is something that looks like the faintest star you see with the naked eye.

When observing deep sky objects (nebula and galaxies) use medium magnification, and try to make as small of movements as possible when moving the telescope.

Finally we come to the brightest thing in the sky, the one star in the daytime, the Sun, an unremarkable middle aged yellow dwarf, but still a thing of grate beauty when observed safely through a telescope. To observe with a telescope the easiest way is to buy a solar filter, made of glass or Mylar, but it MUST screw onto the front of the telescope and cover the full aperture, NEVER use one that screws into an eyepiece, as these explode from concentrated sunlight and then your eye gets razor sharp glass and magnifying glass style sunlight; undoubtedly not fun.

I hope you find this information useful, and that you and your child have many happy hours of observation. Good luck, and see my list of links below for helpful resources.

Dan J asked Where and what do I buy thermal/night-vision binoculars/scopes?

I’m looking to buy a night vision or thermal binoculars or scope. I’m not going to use it for hunting or anything, but more of just something to have… For fun? I guess… Money isn’t too big of a problem, but please, nothing over $300… That said, I have a feeling thermal’s out hahaha.

And got the following answer:

“Money isn’t too big of a problem……. but please, nothing over $300…”

A really nice thermal imaging camera that can tell the difference between a moose and a man at 800yds in a snowstorm – about $630,000.00 You can see them at www.flir.com

Fire departments and people who insulate homes use thermal monoculars to see where the hot spots are in a house fire, or, tell where heat is leaking out. They typically start around $9800 for the cheap ones and $20,000 for a decent one that can take some abuse.

Nightvision scopes are much much cheaper. They are rated at Generation 1, 2, 3, 4 , and 5. Generation 1 is similar to 1970’s Vietnam vintage technology and run between $200-$300 – and most models are cheapo Russian or China stuff that sucks out loud. These things require an Infra Red flood lamp to work decent.

Generation 2-3 are not so bad if you can find an American or model made by a reputable company. Very Important – you need to buy it from a company that is still going to be in business a few years from now incase you need repairs! Ebay, ar15.com, gunbroker.com are the last place you want to buy from – and avoid used ones like the plague. These things are very, very easy to damge the main imager sensor or tube if accidentally exposed to any light!

That said. You say it is just something to have. Try this – go borrow a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) – a digital camera where you can adjust the ISO speed and how long the camera iris stays open. When you set such a camera to ISO 400 or faster, with the iris speed set at 2 seconds or more – when pointed at a big, dark area – the image comes out like nightvision. Except it is in color rather than green. (( I do allot of low light photography (aurora) and I design CCTV security systems. )) This works – and when you crank the DSLR up to ISO 1800 or 3200 you can drop the speed down to 1 or .5 seconds and you can easily make out a fox that is 400 yards away in near total darkness.

This camera trick – and even expensive night vision scopes – all requrie some sort of light to work. Starlight is ok – moonlight is awesome. A dark rainy night you won’t get squat unless you have an IR Illuminator.

Upside to that camera trick – you can use it like nightvision and nobody will think you can see anything.

In NV equipment – you get what you pay for…….. and $300 is not enough to get anything that is going to make your happy or impress you.

Good luck

Chosen One asked Night Vision Binoculars?

I don’t have enough money to buy real over 200 dollars night vision right now so i order a 50 dollars toy. Ever heard of EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars, yes yes i know it’s a toy but i was just wondering, would i be able to look up at the sky and see some stars with them?
I’ve seen some videos on youtube with people outside with them and recording the lcd screen inside of them but they never pointed it to the sky. It works with IR light so i was wondering, maybe right before the sun fully goes down i would be able to see star light or maybe if i bought a ir illuminator.

IDK what do you think? Thought i should ask military people because most of you have had NVG before right?

And got the following answer:

IR will not show stars as their energy is not emanated in the infrared spectrum (primarily). So, these binoculars will not suit your purpose. An illuminator will not show stars no matter how powerful it is. That would take an illuminator with more energy than all the combined energy produced on earth.

hello asked where can i buy a pair of 10×50 pair of binoculars here in the philippines?

i learned from the web that’s the best kind of pair to use in stargazing for amateurs. where can i buy them?and can you tell me the price range?(i don’t have much money, and i don’t have an idea how much it costs here in the country.if there’s a place where they sell second-hand ones, that’s great).thanks a lot to those who’ll help…^_^

And got the following answer:

I have seen that in a malls selling cameras. It costs about $300. Buy the night vision binoculars. They are best for stargazing.

sarah asked Question about night vision binoculars/monoculars?

Hello : ) A question about night vision:

I would really appreciate it if the people who answer this have actual experience or knowlege about night vision. (sorry, just bad experiences with some answers.)

My mom and I are looking to get my dad night vision binoculars or a monocular for Christmas, and we are stumped.

Price range would be probably $225-250 dollars tops. I know this isn’t going to buy the best or anything, but I’d like to get something good for the money.

There are soo many online. I was looking at a Bushnell night vision monocular for like 175, and a National Geographic one for about the same.

Any suggestions? Thanks so much!! : )

And got the following answer:

to be totally honest if that is ur price limit save the money and buy him something else……..to get a decent quality night vision setup minimum is 500 bucks….unless u catch someone selling a set used ….

and good to great sets run in the 2k-3k range…….

Officer Chester asked Poll: What type of binoculars do you use to stalk your neighbors?

I’m in the market for a good, reliable pair. Money is not an option and night-vision would definitely be a plus.

And got the following answer:

I don’t waste my time on binoculars. I just have the Hubble telescope and my disposal so I can even stalk you, if I wanted to. Which I don’t…not yet.

Alison asked Should I go see my doctor?

Over the past two weeks I’ve been getting intense headaches daily and just today I’ve been having slight memory loss and I lose my train of thought mid sentence or thought. I heard it could be a type of migraine? I used to get them all the time, but it’s been almost 3 years since I’ve had on. Though when I get migraines I usually get crippling pain and some sight lost, so that’s why I don’t think it’s a migraine.

And got the following answer:

Whenever I hear about prolonged headaches, I think of the big fives (that makes up the 99% of the cases):

1. Stress.. physical stress can easily translate to headaches.. but it is more so in emotional stress.. the loss of a family member, failing businesses, losing jobs, a sick child etc..
It is the number one on my list because it is too common..

There many ways to deal with stress, but I usually say: Love your self and do something that you love.. one simple exercise is to talk to your self that you are strong and you will overcome this.. and do the things that you love to do like watching tv, cooking and (if you are into to these things) Yoga..

Hopefully you sleep better (quality) and do not awake frequently (quantity)..

2. Eyes, believe it or not, many people I meet.. need to wear glasses.. headaches, drowsiness (like in a lecture or class) and inability to focus your mind could be eye-related.. or it could be a way that your eye is telling you to check the power of your eye glasses (if you already have one).. you may need to change those glasses to more suitable ones..

A simple visit to the optometrist should confirm that..

3. Blood pressure.. a lot of people nowadays (partly thanks to stress) have high blood pressure.. and when it is too high, headache is one of the early signs..
There are machines to check your blood pressure in supermarkets and malls nowadays, anything above 140/90 is something to worry if you are an adult..

4. Substance abuse.. yes, recreational drugs can cause that headaches.. but I usually refer to those common ones.. mainly taking too much caffeine, smoking, MSG monosodium glucomate etc..
All these causes headaches.. so you know what to do.. slowly wean off yourself from them..

5.sleep.. adults need more than 5 hours of continuous sleep.. sleep is measured by quality as well in quantity.. if there is something that is bothering you at night, you may want to seek help for it..
The simplest method to have a good sleep:
Clear your bed (if possible the bedroom) from any distractions: tv, radios, newspapers, homework, workpapers, phones, books, magazines etc etc.. the bedroom is for sleep..
Clear your mind from anything that potentially upset you in the two hours before sleep: work, family, bills, money.. think of daisies, or think about benign stuff like tv and puppies..
Open the curtains in the morning, so that your biological clock resets itself (may sound simple but has its significance)

Migraines are diagnosis made by doctors only.. it is serious illness and require treatment and long follow ups..
The thing is Migraine aggravates with bright lights and noise.. migraines usually relieved by sitting in a dark quiet room for few minutes..

Migraines can be associated with visual disturbance:
Tunnel vision, you feel that your visual eye field has reduced as if you are looking through binoculars or through small peek holes..
Coloured dots and clouds.. often you may see green dots or red clouds that are not there..

And of course, there are the 1% chance that you have something serious.. cancers, aneurysms inside your brain, blood clots inside your brains and maybe a parasite is eating the brain cells piece by piece.. yes, they are possible scary scenarios.. but the big 5 above, makes up the 99% of the cases..

If any doubt or worrying thought.. by all means, seek the doctor’s help..
Here at Yahoo answers, we can only offer guesses.. the rest is up to you..

Good luck, God bless