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For use with Chapter 16
Light


Vacations in the Dark
Posted September 18, 2000

People will do almost anything for recreation. Tourist companies are working hard to develop new ways for people to have a good time when they are on vacation. With the advent of new technology, new tourism possibilities arise.

It was only a few years ago that the world was introduced to night vision technology. Night vision devices amplify millions of times small amounts of available light allowing objects to be visible in the dark. This makes reliance on artificial light unnecessary in many situations. The amplified image then appears on a screen. Most people saw it first used in a practical setting during the Gulf War, when night vision technology was used by fighter pilots during nighttime air raids. Since then, the familiar green-colored images have been seen in television shows, movies, and the news. It was only a matter of time before these products were used for recreation.

Night Vision Tours
Darryl Bangert has developed a very special rafting tour down the Colorado River. He started a tour that allowed visitors to use special night-vision goggles to look at the stars and the nature that surrounds them on a raft trip down the Colorado.

The five-hour tour begins with stargazing on the banks of the river with astronomer Jimmy Westlake. The night vision goggles worn by the participants amplify the ambient light millions of times to make dim stars bright, and allows people to see stars that are not even visible to the naked eye.

After the astronomy lesson, visitors are treated to a ride down the Colorado River in a raft. On the trip they can view wildlife in near darkness and see the woods come alive. The tour ends with a trip down the rapids.

While the use of this technology for tourism is still new, and could possibly be a fad, it offers patrons a chance to see nature in a new and different light.

 

Activity
Use the web sites listed here to learn more about night vision technology. Write an article in your Science Journal explaining how night vision technology can be used to help people in their daily lives.

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Physics: Principles and Problems