Every single thing on Earth radiates infrared heat; it could be an iceberg, an animal or a piece of machinery, and Thermography allows us to see it all. Thermography is the science of infrared imaging, and is a method used to measure the amount of heat (thermo) that is coming from a body. Thermography as a science has its base in medicine, where it was first used to locate areas of abnormal pathology in the body. It is said that Socrates once used wet mud, placed on his patients to tell where inflammation occurred in the body. Since heat is associated with infection and inflammation, wherever the mud dried first was an indication of where the problem was.
If you are trying to find a water leak inside a wall, an intruder hidden in the bushes at night or even identify individuals with a fever passing through a security checkpoint, thermal imaging is just the thing you need. Thanks to our innovators, there are cameras that are equipped with the technology to measure the difference in temperatures on an electromagnetic spectrum, and snap a photo of it for later reference.
The first thermal camera was developed for military purposes in 1938 in Sweden. By 1968 Industrial and commercial imaging cameras were on the market.
Using these cameras you can take pictures of the infrared energy emitted by people, animals and objects, rather than just the image and light that we can see with our eyes. Normal digital cameras show light images, while thermal imaging cameras show heat images. Admittedly, thermography is a highly specialized science, but if you can take a picture with a regular camera, you will not have a single problem operating a thermal imaging camera. Simple aim, focus and click, the software installed in the thermal imaging camera will do the rest. With a little training, you will be better able to interpret what the infrared images are actually telling you.
The biggest difference between a regular camera and a thermal imaging camera is the lens it uses to capture the images. Glass, which forms the lens of regular cameras, is not able to capture infrared radiation and so germanium is used for thermal imaging cameras. Germanium is an expensive but excellent metal for capturing infrared radiation. The infrared radiation is then picked up by the infrared detector in the camera, which then sends the information to the sensors t process and display an image. The camera will then display temperature readings of the image to be interpreted for its intended use.
Nowadays there are several companies who make infrared cameras for a variety of purposes from medical and industrial applications to recreation and military use. The costs of these cameras are of course higher than the cost of normal cameras, with the price tag ranging from $400 to in the thousands. It all depends on size and the intended purpose.
Rifle scopes are some of the easiest sighting assistance to use. Once you are equipped with a scope shooting get closer to becoming a case of ‘point and shot’. With a scope you only need to place the target in the crosshairs and pull the trigger. Now, there are three main types of rifle scopes:
– Normal scopes
– Night Vision scopes
– Thermal or Infrared scopes
Thermal rifle scopes are usually used in cases where visibility is extremely low. Many people ask what is the difference between night vision rifle scopes and thermal rifle scopes, the answer is night vision scopes help to amplify the light while thermal scopes detect the infrared light and provide that imagery. Night vision rifles scopes become pretty useless in cases where there is a lot of dust or fog, but thermal rifle scopes are not bothered by these conditions. They can even be used in brightly lit areas.
Infrared rifles scopes also allow the user to look through camouflage and covers, because thin covers will allow heat traces to be detected. Grass and bush are sparse covers and so are ineffective at blocking infrared imaging.
In the event you are planning on purchasing a thermal rifle scope, we advice that you check with the regulations that govern the usage in your area. Most places have very strict rules with heavy punishments and even in hunting only a few places allow its usage. Physically speaking, thermal rifle scopes are usually heavier than normal scopes and need electricity to function. This means therefore, that you will need battery to operate them. Hence, there are limitations in the duration of their efficiency, but you can always carry extra battery packs to help offset this.
There are two main types of thermal rifle scopes:
– Stand-alone thermal scopes that are like normal scopes but with infrared. These need to be calibrated with the rifle to ensure accuracy. The only inconvenience using these scopes is that it does not allow for rapid switching if you need to go back to using a normal scope. This is because once you remove the infrared scope, you will need to re-calibrate your weapon with the normal scope to ensure accuracy.
– Clip-on thermal scopes work just like the name suggests. They are simply placed at the front of a normal scope, which then turns your normal scope into a thermal rifle scope. This is very convenient as it allows you to easily switch between the two.
Thermography has several applications all of which are based on tapping into the infrared radiation emitted to provide a more detailed thermal image.