How Do Night Vision Goggles Work?

Night vision goggles have fascinated people for decades, and you have to admit…it’s a pretty cool idea, right?

Put a pair of these goggles on and you’ll be able to see in the dark. This explains why it seems like field agents in the movies are invincible. They always have the coolest equipment on their utility belt (or up their sleeve!).

Now, if you expect to see as clearly as you see in broad daylight when using these glasses, then it’s time to bring your expectations back to reality. Night vision obviously won’t match the 576-megapixel clarity of a human eye, but still, it gives you an advantage, right?

Night-vision goggles

Night-vision goggles

How Do Night Vision Goggles Work?

These useful tools rely on two different techniques that help to bring out images (moving objects) from the darkness.

1. Image Enhancement (the ones in which the optical view is green)

2. Thermal Imaging (the ones with a blue-grey-yellowish vision)

Thermal Imaging captures a portion of the infrared light spectrum. Given that human bodies radiate heat, more infrared light is emitted and can be observed, whereas in Image Enhancement, tiny amounts of light from the source (human bodies) are collected, amplified, and then fed back to the eyes.

If you want to experience first-hand how night vision goggles enhance your vision in the dark, you can buy them here.

For a more visually stimulating explanation, watch the video below:


  1. Wikipedia
  2. Night Vision Goggles – Explain That Stuff
  3. How Stuff Works
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About the Author:

Ashish is a Science graduate (Bachelor of Science) from Punjabi University (India). He spends a lot of time watching movies, and an awful lot more time discussing them. He likes Harry Potter and the Avengers, and obsesses over how thoroughly Science dictates every aspect of life… in this universe, at least.

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