Ultraviolet Light and Black Light: a beginner's guide
by David Rudd Cycleback

1) Introduction

2) What is ultraviolet light?

3) The different kinds of UV light

4) Your tool for this guide: a black light

5) Where does ultraviolet light come from? How was it discovered? Why can't we see it?

6) How are black lights made?

7) Practical and interesting uses for your black light

8) Examining art and collectibles: Introduction

9) Identifying modern fakes of antique paper memorabilia

10) Identifying counterfeit US currency

11) Identifying alterations to art, collectibles

12) Examining cloth

13) Examining art glass

14) Making glow in the dark art and crafts

15) Protecting yourself from the Sun's UV

16) UV light in science and industry

What is ultraviolet light?

Ultraviolet, or UV for short, is a form of light that is invisible to humans. UV makes up a small section on the entire spectrum of light. As shown below, the entire light spectrum also includes infrared light, X-rays, gamma rays and the visible light we see.

Light is commonly categorized by its wavelength. The light to the left on the above spectrum has the longest wavelength, while the light on the right side has the shortest. Ultraviolet light is just to the left of the color violet in the visual light spectrum.

Utraviolet literally translates to beyond violet, with ultra being Latin for beyond or past. Infrared, just on the other side of the visible light, means beyond or past red, with infra meaning the same as ultra.

Humans can only see visible light and its colors violet to red. Human can't see any of the other type of light. The visible colors have different wavelengths from each other.


Next: The different kinds of UV light

(c) david rudd cycleback, all rights reserved