Auroras are quite popular as a photo subject these days, especially for time-lapse photography, but a team of researchers in Norway recently snapped pictures of one in a way that hasn’t been done before: with a hyperspectral camera. The special device can simultaneously capture multiple spectral bands of light. The composite photograph above was created by combining three such bands of light, with each one assigned a different RGB color.
Hyperspectral cameras are those that can capture information in the electromagnetic spectrum, far beyond what the human eye — and consumer cameras — can see. American Photo Magazine has a fascinating feature that tells of how researchers around the world are using the cameras to uncover century and millennium-old mysteries:
The historic discoveries are just getting started. No one yet knows how much researchers and scholars will find with this new generation of hyperspectral technology. More than a hundred years ago, in the ancient Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus, archeologists found piles of illegible papyrus. Recently, University of Oxford researchers found that they contained fragments of a lost tragedy by the ancient author Sophocles, of whose plays only seven were known to have survived. New imaging methods have also found portions of a poem by Archilochus that reveal new details about the genesis of the Trojan War. The research at St. Catherine’s could settle long-standing debates over the origins and foundation of some of the world’s major religions.
Discoveries using hyperspectral photography so far include revisions to the US Declaration of Independence, hidden words in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and a possible Abraham Lincoln fingerprint on a copy of the Gettysburg Address.
Peeling Back the Hidden Pages of History With Hyperspectral Photography [American Photo]
P.S. Last year, a group of scientists was able to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary Canon 5D and random off-the-shelf parts.
Image credits: Photographs by Abby Brack Lewis and the Library of Congress
Hyperspectral cameras are capable of collecting and processing information across the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond what the human eye can see. The technology ordinarily costs a fortune to get a hold of, but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have figured out how to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary DSLR (the Canon 5D) and an adapter made of off-the-shelf parts (PVC pipes, a gel filter, and three camera lenses). The camera still has a ways to go in many areas — it requires several seconds to exposes images rather than milliseconds — but it’s a big step towards showing what’s possible with consumer camera technology.
(via Vienna University of Technology via The Verge)