Infrared: The Hidden Classroom

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Tower Hill School (in Witney) to talk about astronomy, space and science. The kids were brilliant and asked awesome questions as usual. For this visit I took the department’s infrared camera – which really was the star of the show. Before I took the camera to the classroom I tested it out at home. It’s amazing how you can spot every power adapter and leaky window so easily once you are viewing the world with thermal vision.

Here are a few shots from around the house – the colour palette varies but the temperature range is displayed on the right hand side.

It turns out that classrooms are full of awesome things to look at in infrared: mostly the kids! They were full of ideas and we soon came up with things to do that would be interesting or cool. They wanted to stand in bin bags, go outside (into the cold December weather) and come back in, and look for wifi routers and plugs. A second group of kids all held onto ice cubes and looked at the classroom heater. Here are some cool shots from the school visit.

Your local department may well have one of these cameras – or you can get one for about £2.5k – and they are excellent for inspiring the kids and getting across ideas about heat and light.

To see what the Universe looks like with infrared (and other) eyes try out Chromoscope. You could also take a look at the Hidden Universe podcast or even my own TEDxCardiff talk from 2010, which is embedded below too:


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