How Night Vision Goggles Work?

One of the limitations human beings have is the inability to see at night. Given their intellectual capacity, however, you can trust them to find a way around this. Night vision goggles are one way human beings are now able to see even in the darkest of places. As the human eye can’t make out things clearly in low light conditions, the night vision goggles make it possible. How can they be used? How do they even work? Let me help you answer these questions. Yes, they actually worked as your favorite movie would suggest.

How Night Vision Goggles Work

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What Is Night Vision?

So, what exactly is night vision? Simply explained, night vision is the ability to clearly make out things in extremely low light conditions. There are certain light levels below which the human eye can’t see through. The technology of night vision helps the eyes adapt to these conditions and work with the little light and the light invisible to the naked eye such as infrared rays to enable vision.

The screens in night vision goggles produce green light. Why you may ask. The human eye is able to stand long hours of green light as compared to black and white light. To add on to this, the human eye is also more responsive to green light as compared to the black and white light.

Night vision is an essential component for all drivers out there. The technology helps drivers detect possible pedestrians, stray animals or cyclists on the roadway past the car headlamps.

What Are Night Vision Goggles Used For?

While it is simply a hobby to see in the darkness for some people, for others, it is a necessity. This especially applies to ardent night hunters who heavily rely on the ability to see in darkness. Night vision goggles to them do not only come in handy but are the sole reason they are able to hunt at night.

For others, it is not about hunting but observation of the nocturnal animals in their habitat. This may be for personal satisfaction or films and documentaries.

The night vision goggles also prove very useful in search and rescue missions at night. More prominently, this technology is a big deal in security and surveillance. It is possible to see someone 200 yards away with the right night vision goggles. Other than that, their use is employed in driving and flying in the night.

It is not always that serious. Sometimes the night goggles are just for fun. It could be viewing wildlife and hikes out in the night. You will find the same in cameras in households which are used to film videos.

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How Night Vision Goggles Work?

Night vision depending on the technology employed can work in different ways. One way involves image enhancement while the other involves thermal imaging. Both are equally effective. The difference is in the lighting conditions. Image enhancement requires little amounts of light while thermal imaging requires absolute darkness.

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Image enhancement

This particular one requires image intensifiers. These work to amplify the available light leading to a better perception of images. Little amounts of light available, even those not perceived by the human eye are concentrated enough to form images perceptible to the eye. This is supported by the fact that even in the darkest of conditions, there exist some bits of light.

Thermal imaging

This relies on the fact that objects are capable of emitting energy in form of infrared based on their temperature. With higher temperatures more, radiation is emitted. With a thermal imager, infrared radiation is transformed into an image. The images appear in black and white, the black ones being the cold ones and the white ones being the hot ones. However, some thermal imagers are colorful.

Factors to consider when choosing night vision goggles

If you want to buy the best night vision goggles, there are a few things you need to check so that you can get the best goggles. Check them out.

The generation

This perhaps should be the first step when choosing the goggles that best suit your needs. The night vision goggles come in three generations. The first generation makes for free and easy observation. Nothing serious! They are the cheapest. The second generation is for more significant observations and undertakings.

Image quality

Undoubtedly, the better the image quality, the easier to make out things on the other end of the goggles. If you are hunting, for instance, the image quality must be very high-end. To be noted also is that the better the image quality, the more expensive the night goggles.


Night vision worsens with an increase in magnification. With a magnification past 6x the clarity of pictures is seriously compromised. Lower magnifications work better. On this also gain of the night vision goggles is to be seriously considered.

The intent of the goggles

Night vision goggles have quite the range of uses. They could be used for hunting, security surveillance, nature observation or simply for fun around the house.

As a hunter, you can’t go for the same night vision goggles as one who wants them simply for entertainment. You have factors such as magnifications to consider.

If you are not going for anything serious it is not necessary to go for expensive gadgets. Choose the ones that work most efficiently.

The environment in which they are to be used

This also is not to be overlooked. Think about the distance, is it close or far away? Think about the climate. If you are working under little light condition consider the ones with an image intensifier. If there is absolute darkness, consider the ones with a thermal imager.


Since we already reached the conclusion that human beings have terrible sight in the darkness, the night vision goggles are a good way to go. Using them is very fulfilling. Going for night hikes or even hunts is a better experience and you will get what you were going for.

Having understood what night vision is and how exactly it works, I hope you are now able to choose night vision goggles that best work for you.

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