Watermelon Calcite photographed under natural light and short-wave ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet light is any light between 10 and 400 nanometers in wavelength. It is called ultraviolet light because these wavelengths are below the color violet and are invisible. At Birds on the Brink Sanctuary we are exploring the use of ultraviolet light because we are fascinated with the fact that parrots, butterflies, and bees can naturally see this wavelength while we can’t. Yet, if we project UV light onto certain crystals and minerals, we get to see what some of our residences at the Sanctuary can see on a normal basis.

The Mineral Rock Watermelon Calcite shown in the header and below is under Ultraviolet C or Short-wave UV light. Short-wave UV light spans the wavelength range from 280 nm down to 100 nm. When using short-wave light to view rock specimens, one must use caution to not look directly into the light and be aware that even reflective light off the rock can burn the eyes. So glasses or protective goggles are required whenever examining fluorescent minerals for a prolonged period of time.

Watermelon Calcite photographed under SW ultraviolet light. (All photos presented in this post are courtesy of John Rofrano)

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