Using a UV Camera to Reveal Hidden Ultraviolet Patterns Humans Can’t See

Photographer and “mad scientist” Don Komarechka is back for a DPReview TV episode on ultraviolet light. Specifically, he explains how a modified camera-and-filter combination can reveal hidden ultraviolet patterns that are invisible to the human eye, but crucial for pollinators like bees.

Human trichromatic vision is limited to the so-called “visible” portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, but the spectrum doesn’t simply stop at those boundaries. Immediately adjacent to the visible light spectrum is near-infrared and infrared on one end, and ultraviolet on the other, both of which can be captured using specially-modified cameras.

We’ve featured infrared photography many times before, but in this video, Komarechka heads over to the other end to reveal the hidden world of ultraviolet light. Specifically, he shows you the hidden patterns that pollinators like bees use to home in on certain flowers. The results can be downright shocking:

From streaks leading to the pollen source,

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Researchers design the world’s fastest ultraviolet camera

INRS researchers design the world's fastest UV camera
Illustration of a compact, one-box UV-CUP system. Credit: Jinyang Liang

The team of Professor Jinyang Liang, a specialist in ultrafast imaging at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), in collaboration with an international team of researchers, has developed the fastest camera in the world capable of recording photons in the ultraviolet (UV) range in real time. This original research is featured on the front cover of the 10th issue of the journal Laser & Photonics Reviews.


Compressed ultrafast photography (CUP) captures the entire process in real time and unparalleled resolution with just one click. The spatial and temporal information is first compressed into an image and then, using a reconstruction algorithm, it is converted into a video.

Developing a Compact Instrument for UV

Until now, this technique was limited to visible and near-infrared wavelengths, and thus to a specific category of physical events. “Many phenomena that occur

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Astronomers find the first galaxy whose ultraviolet luminosity is comparable to that of a quasar

Astronomers find the first galaxy whose ultraviolet luminosity is comparable to that of a quasar
Left and centre: Image of the region of the sky containing BOSS-EUVLG1, which stands out due to its blue colour. Credit: DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys. Right: Artist’s drawing of the burst of star formation in BOSS-EUVLG1, which contains a large number of young massive stars, and hardly any dust. Credit: Gabriel Pérez Díaz, SMM (IAC).

Using observations made with the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafía, La Palma, Canary Islands), and with the ATACAMA Large Millimeter/submillimetre Array (ALMA), in Chile, astronomers have found the first galaxy whose ultraviolet luminosity is comparable to that of a quasar. The discovery was recently published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters.


The galaxy, called BOSS-EUVLG1, has a red-shift of 2.47. This is a measure of the reddening of the light coming from the galaxy, and can be used to find its distance:

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