Monday, 17 May 2021

What Happens If You Put Night Vision Goggles on in the Dark and Look at a Mirror?

If there is one thing that can be said about humans, it is that we are indeed a curious race. Over the course of history, we experimented on literally every single thing that came across our minds. For example, a team of neuroscientists at the University of Barcelona did an experiment to conclude whether rats can tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese. However, most of these researches are still moreay curious than ridiculous. Take an example of the question of what happens when you look in the mirror in the dark with night vision goggles.

night vision goggles mirror in the dark

What is the Problem?

Well, the main reason why this question is so problematic is because of the way mirrors work. As you know, the energy can never disappear, it can only change forms. The same goes with light. Once light hits an object, there are three possible scenarios. First, it can pass through it if the object is transparent. Second, it can disappear in it if the object is colored non-reflectively (usually dark or opaque). Finally, it can reflect. When you look in the mirror, the light reflects your body and everything about it. Then, the silver atoms behind the glass absorb these light photons and what you see is the conservation of energy happening right in front of your eyes.

What Happens When It’s Dark?

This question is extremely simple to give answer to. If it is pitch-black in the room, there is no way for you to see anything. End of discussion.

What about Night Vision Goggles?

What most people don’t realize is that night vision goggles neither create light nor have their own source of light. They are supposed to amplify light, no matter how minimally present it may be. In other words, even what seems as the absolute dark usually has at least some small amount of light. Still, not all light is visible. As we all know, ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) lights are other possibilities. However, UV is completely irrelevant in this case, since nothing in human body emits it. On the other hand, if one had night vision goggles that are extremely sensitive to IR, as well as a specially designed mirror capable of reflecting IR, they could see their reflection in the mirror in the dark.


In the end, the only way to see, in any way, is through light. No light, no vision. Nevertheless, seeing how human body emits electromagnetic radiation, in theory, it could be possible to see it as IR light in a special mirror, using night vision goggles. The circumstances of this are so unlikely that, in most cases, they shouldn’t even be considered.

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