Thermal Image Zoo

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Thermal Image Zoo   

Recently we road tested outdoor heaters using a thermal imaging camera to find out which models gave off the most heat, and where the heat was distributed. We were amazed at the multi-coloured images the thermal imaging camera produced: the blue areas were fairly cold, the blackish areas intermediate and the red areas very hot. Those fabulous results made us wonder what different animals would look like when viewed through the high-tech lens of a thermal imaging camera. Don and the Burke’s Backyard team visited Sydney’s Taronga Zoo at night, and had great fun capturing some very unusual and spectacular footage of elephants, giraffes, gorillas, kangaroos and echidnas.

How do thermal imaging cameras work?

Visible light is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see. We can’t see infrared light, which is found just below the red part of the spectrum (the term infrared means “below red”), but it can be detected because all warm objects give off infrared radiation. Thermal imagers colour code the differences in radiation intensity of objects, and map them out so that ‘hot spots’ can be detected. They let you ‘see’ heat, and they can do it at night or in broad daylight. This technology has a variety of applications, including law enforcement, search & rescue, land/airborne surveillance, predictive/preventative maintenance, and veterinary and human medical imaging.

Further information

Our segment was filmed at Taronga Zoo, Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, phone (02) 9969 2777. The July edition of the Burke’s Backyard magazine (on sale now for $4.20) features photos taken at the zoo with the thermal imaging camera.