How Does Thermal Imaging Scope Work?

You’ve heard about the alternative to daytime hunting. You’ve seen the consequences to seeking prey under the hot, bright sun. It’s easy to blow cover and it’s all too easy to ruin your entire strategy after just shifting your knee around once. After hours of mulling over new strategies, you’ve come to the conclusion that you’re better hidden in the dead of night.

Or perhaps this isn’t the case at all.

Perhaps you’ve simply decided that you’re more of a nocturnal predator.

And that’s totally fine, too.

But before you can fully integrate yourself into the swing of night hunting, you have to make sure you have adequate equipment. This means that you need some form of night vision device so you can see your prey in the dark. Luckily, there are two options you can choose from. You can choose your standard night vision scopes (generations one through four, each increasing in quality). Night vision scopes are good for attracting small light particles in the area and enhancing them to create a picture.

However, as useful as this can be, it’s not 100% foolproof in its execution.

Thankfully, there’s a second option that, I feel, is more reliable overall.

Thermal Imaging.

What is Thermal Imaging?

Thermal imagery, or thermography, is a form of science that specializes in infrared images. Like night vision, thermal imagery can pick up on energy particles in order to form an image. However, unlike standard night vision, thermal scopes pick up on body heat and radiation as opposed to light. Thermography is utilized in a variety of different fields, such as in medical practices, surveillance, construction, archaeology, and many other types of sciences.

Oh, and hunting.

Especially hunting!

In fact, I find thermography a better method to finding prey in the dark. Night vision won’t always promise you a target because it focuses on the surrounding area as opposed to the specific prey. At least with thermal imagery, you can basically lock onto a target and indefinitely increase your chances to getting a killshot. Of course, this is just my opinion.

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

While we’ve already discussed the core difference between thermography and regular night vision devices, we haven’t quite gone over the schematics of how thermal scopes are able to pick up on radiation and heightened temperatures. In thermal imaging, a lens is specially made to focus on the infrared radiation emitted by everything within the scope’s view. The radiation is scanned by an array of infrared-detector elements. The detector elements create a very detailed temperature pattern called a thermogram.

In all, it really only takes about one-thirtieth of a second for the detector to thoroughly process the temperature information and make the thermogram. The information can be obtained from around several hundred to several thousand points in the field of view of the detector array! The thermogram created by the elements is then translated into electric impulses. Upon completion, the impulses are then sent to a signal-processing unit. This unit is a circuit board with a dedicated chip that translates the information from the elements into data for the display.

Once the signal-processing unit receives the information, it then sends it to the display. This is where it appears as various colors, depending on the intensity of the infrared emission. The combination of all the impulses from all of the elements ultimately forms a pretty image for your eager hunter eyes. Fun fact: in some fields of science, the colors that pop up on a thermography are thoroughly examined and recorded–especially in the case of radiation studies. In fact, scientists can study all forms of radioactive energy through the use of thermography. Whether it be UV waves, microwaves, or even radio waves, this tech can read it as fast as any machine can!

Another fun fact: in the medical field (for both humans and animals), thermographic examinations that reveal excessive body heat from patients can potentially reveal illnesses that might’ve not been able to track before!

Pretty neat, huh? That just goes to show, ladies and gentlemen, that thermal imagery is excessively useful for many people. If it can handle radiation like a champ, just wait until you see what it does with animals you’re hunting! See what I mean now about this arguably being better than standard night vision?