Night Vision Binoculars
Night vision binoculars run low-light conditions through photocathode tubes to create a visible recreation of a nighttime scene. These binoculars are available in different intensities that affect how much the light is amplified. Night vision devices are designed to increase the clarity and distance of nighttime views, and they're often used for navigation, surveillance, and stargazing.
How do night vision binoculars work?
Most of these binoculars work through a combination of image enhancement technology and amplification. The front lens gathers the available ambient light and infrared radiation and then sends it to a photocathode tube. Here, photons are turned into electrons, which can be amplified and made visible. This manifests as a green-hued image that users can view through the eye piece. Some night vision technology may also use thermal imaging.
What are the differences between the various generations of night vision goggles?
There are three generations of night vision units:
- First Generation Night Vision Units: First-generation units are the most common type of night vision binoculars, and they're used by everyone from wildlife enthusiasts to people interested in home security. They can amplify ambient light by a factor of several thousand, which enables users to clearly view nighttime images. When using these binoculars, people may notice some geometric distortion wherein the images are slightly blurred. This is standard for this generation of night vision goggles.
- Second Generation Night Vision Units: Second-generation night vision units are designed for professional use. They differ from first-generation binoculars in one crucial way: They have a micro-channel plate, which helps to amplify light. This improves the clarity and brightness of the nighttime image.
- Third Generation Night Vision Units: Third-generation units are the highest quality in night vision technology. During the production of these devices, a chemical known as gallium arsenide is added to the photocathode. This promotes exceptional brightness and clarity.
What are the different types of night vision devices?
There are several different types of night vision devices, including:
- Night Vision Monoculars: Monoculars offer versatile night vision technology. They have a single eye piece, and they offer no magnification. Night vision monoculars are lightweight, and many people mount them on rifles or use them for photography.
- Night Vision Goggles: Night vision goggles have a two-eye piece, and they have effective navigational technology. They do not offer magnification, but they are simple to use, making them a good choice for night vision beginners. There are two main types of goggles. Some use a single image tube, while others offer stereo vision.
- Night Vision Binoculars: Night vision binoculars differ from night vision goggles because they have magnification capabilities. The magnification lens adds weight to the binoculars, so these two-eye units are difficult to head mount. These are ideal for people looking for stationary night vision technology.