Does Thermal Imaging Work During The Day? Best Guide

We know that thermal imaging is the ability of a device to perceive heat radiations that are emitting from everything surrounding us. To know whether thermal imaging work during the day or not, we have to understand its working mechanism properly.  

That is; what is the thermal vision? On what kind of electromagnetic radiation does it work? Does IR work in daylight? and how thermal imaging is different from IR systems?.  

Thermal Vision  

Both artificial and living systems can perceive infrared radiation. Thermal vision is mainly concerned with the amount of energy an object emits. From its name “thermal” we can get the idea that it’s related to heat or temperature. The hotter the object is the more radiation it gives out in its surrounding.  

The gadgets that use thermal vision include thermal cameras, thermal scopes, handheld thermal imagers, thermal monoculars, and thermal binoculars. These thermal devices are used in different applications like criminal finding, security purposes, roof inspection, electrical wiring maintenance, finding heat and water leakages, and Physiological activities & law enforcement, etc.

Does Thermal Imaging Work During The Day?  

The simple answer is yes, but there is a very sophisticated mechanism behind its working. To understand how it is possible, you must remain tuned to this article until the very end. 

So, the question that arises here is;  

Does Thermal Imaging Use Infrared?  

I have already discussed that thermal vision is related to heat or temperature. And every object has a particular temperature. Thermal imaging is sometimes called infrared vision, so it is crystal clear that thermal imaging cameras use infrared wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation to detect the object or body that is their focus.  

Artificial gadgets, for example, cameras, contain a specific sensor called a detector. This detector can detect even a minute amount of temperature change, so it estimates the difference between different objects in one frame and gives a visual image that falls in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.  

Related post: Thermal Imagining vs Night Vision.

How Do We Detect IR During The Day? 

The particular gadget’s center also has the ability to recognize a wide range of wavelengths; in addition to infrared, they are also peculiarly sensitive to visible. They may also contain single wavelength sensitivity, but some have multiple wavelength sensitivity too. 

However, the thermal imaging device encountered a contrast problem during the day. Which is minute and can be ignored, but the visible light condition does not hinder the IR emissions as both visible and IR are the different wavelengths of the same light, and they’re very specific from wavelength to frequency to energy level. So the detecting device, I.e., the camera, can easily differentiate the two different radiations and give us the appropriate results.  

To further understand the mechanism, we have to point out the major difference between IR and thermal imaging systems.  

Thermal Versus IR  

Usually, the infrared system utilizes short wavelength infrared light to detect an object, and part of the IR is reflected into the infrared camera, and so this is how an image got generated through IR systems. 

While in thermal imagers systems, the cameras only detect the change in temperature difference. Apart from measuring the temperature difference, they are also passive and use the mid or short wavelength of infrared energy.  

The advantage of these thermal detectors over IR is that handheld thermal imagers operate in long infrared wavelengths, so they do not reflect any light. As a result, the unreflected light causes the image visuals not to get affected by any kind of unwanted light like the oncoming headlights, haze, dusk or smoke, etc. However, you can even block infrared thermal imaging.

Watch the video on ” Infrared or thermal imaging. ”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

How Does Infrared Work In Daylight?  

The main source of light is the sun. The sunlight contains a broad range of wavelengths of which only visible light falling under 380 to 700 nanometers can only be detected by the human eye. The range also includes infrared wavelength radiation (700 nanometers (nm) to 1 millimetre (mm)). 

Infrared radiation is popularly known as thermal radiation, so thermographic cameras detect the radiation in the IR range and produce visuals of those emitted radiations. As we know that infrared radiations are emitted by every object because of the temperature difference between the objects, so thermography allows us to see one’s surrounding with or without visible light. So, yes, this is how it works during daylight. 

Can Thermal Imaging See-Through Metal? 

Simply, No. Though thermal imaging can detect objects in harsh environmental conditions such as rain, smoke, fog, smog, etc. Metals are among the concrete materials through which thermal imaging does not work. 

But if the object you want to detect emits a huge amount of energy, Only then you will be able to see the object behind the metal. Want to explore more facts on why thermal imaging can’t see-through metal?

Related Post: Does Glass Block Thermal Imaging?

How Far Away Does Thermal Imaging Work?  

To get an accurate temperature measurement, you must have a camera with many pixels. This will give you more detail about the visual image. As we get far away from the targeted body we want to capture, the greater the chances we will get a low-quality picture. To get high-quality pictures, the camera must have high resolution.

A high-resolution camera gives high pixels, which in turn gives greater accuracy. Hence digital zoom is not the key to accuracy. Rather, high-resolution cameras with narrow fields give us better-quality pictures. In short, your camera’s resolution decides how far thermal imaging works.  

Final Thoughts  

Yes, thermal imaging work during the day. The mechanism used by the devices is not much complicated. Thermal imaging uses IR to detect objects during the day as well as at night. This desirable trait of thermal imaging systems makes it preferable to many IR systems.

Though both have their pros and cons, thermal imaging cameras are used by a variety of people from different fields, I.e., in military surveillance, medical diagnosis, hunters and agriculturist, etc. The images by thermal imaging are most likely not affected by any other radiation and harsh environmental conditions such as rain, fog, smog, etc. But we cannot get the required image if some concrete object hinders the focused object.

Related Posts: Does Aluminum Foil Block Thermal Imaging?

Leave a Comment