Skip to main content

Shadowlands;Let there be light

John Stringer and Dinah Starkey explore religious festivals and the science of illumination

Light bulbs and candles are sources of light. The Moon and some super-reflecting road signs seem to be sources of light, but have no light of their own. Light and heat are almost always produced together; but some creatures produce light by bioluminescence - making use of a biological process that makes no heat. Deep-sea fish lure their victims by glowing like bait; glow-worms and fireflies sparkle to attract a mate.

Some paints glow briefly with "fluorescence"; while self-adhesive stars shine with a longer-lived "phosphorescence". They contain phosphors - chemicals that can absorb the energy from light, slowly releasing it as a light greenish glow.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you