"ultraviolet" is such a cool word tbh
it sounds like the name of a superheroine

it also describes a cool part of the electromagnetic spectrum, right where the photon energies really start getting good


parts of the electromagnetic spectrum Ellies are obsessed with:
- all of them

ELF? cool
VHF? cool
microwave? cool
millimeter wave? infrared? visible? ultraviolet? x-rays? gamma rays? all cool. none of you are free of cool

gamma rays are metal as fuck, they're just the cosmos being like "dude, how much energy can we squeeze into one photon" and it's rather a lot as it turns out

x-rays are either of two things:
1. gamma rays, but housetrained
2. ultraviolet with the "metal af" factor jacked up to 11
they're useful for a ton of cool stuff, like probing crystals and looking inside things and doing rad astronomy

ultraviolet we were just talking about
this is the bit after visible where we first start seeing Weird Shit happen in metals and stuff, where the light pries off electrons from the surface. more generally, it marks the beginning of the realm of ionizing radiation.

fun fact: your retina is still sensitive to ultraviolet, but your lens blocks everything below 400nm. if you lack lenses in your eyes (some do), you can see ultraviolet down to about 300 nm before the rest of your eye stops it.

ultraviolet light that you can't see won't damage your retina like infrared can (infrared lasers: scary!!!) but they can give you snowblindness and cataracts by heating your lenses.

off on a tangent: did you know that the clear stuff (vitrious humor? aqueous? we forget which) in your eyeballs can scintillate when struck by charged particles, and make your eyes act like little cosmic ray detectors?
retinas are sensitive - it only takes about four photons to activate a rod cell in near-total darkness - and astronauts have talked about seeing blue flashes with their eyes closed all the time while in space, especially in higher orbits.

back to the ultraviolet lens thing: it's not really a thing yet, but in the future, it might be possible to have your eyeball materials surgically replaced with synthetic ones that transmit UV light, which would let you see a bunch of normally-invisible wavelengths with your unaided eye, and also see a lot of visible ones a lot better.
no idea how feasible this really is, but it would be a cool scifi element.
the blue sky might look purple in this case, as might Cherenkov radiation.

@diodelass as someone who has eye problems: eyes are scary

@diodelass I feel this is another place where the biohacking community has really dropped the ball

@diodelass I have a feeling that people who have had new lenses added to fix cataracts can see in uv because the implants don’t filter it out.

@diodelass Isn't deep blue light hazardous to the retina? Presumably UV would be worse. I think I'd prefer to keep my internal UV filters in place.

@varx oh, a little, but only at high intensity. wouldn't hurt you to, say, go look at wildflowers

@diodelass I bought a cheap green laser from Hong Kong that turned out to use an infrared laser, frequency doubling, and a second lasing chamber to produce green. So much technology (and shipping!) for $8. Of course, it was also a slightly dangerous piece of shit.

I shone the laser through a red medicine bottle in a darkened room and I could see a dim red spot projected on the wall. My camera thought it was much brighter. I guess I was seeing some infrared. :-)

@varx oh yeah, green InGaN laser diodes are a new invention and are still basically unheard of in cheap laser pointers - they're all Nd:YAGs driving a frequency doubler. they're supposed to have infrared filters, but it sounds like yours doesn't.
the infrared diode at the back is many times more powerful than the green beam you get out the front... we hear you can use them for shenanigans if you can get them out.

@diodelass Unfortunately, it was like... epoxied into a metal tube, or something. After it died (I mentioned it was a piece of shit, right?) I couldn't extract anything to play with. :-/

@varx yeah, they're usually nightmarish to disassemble. all the ones we have are like, steel pieces that have been impact-fitted together

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