An infrared camera system that records the comings and goings of bats from a wooden house setup in a park near Syracuse, NY. In collaboration with a 2nd grade class of students, the project teaches young students not only about bats, but also imaging techniques that help us learn things about animals in their natural environment. The system was just installed and is not yet online. More details and picture coming soon!

Schlieren Imaging System
A traveling imaging system used to teach viewers of all ages about light rays, refraction, reflection, heat, density, and convection.
March 13, 2016 (image credit: SPIE/OSA RIT)  
A young visitor delights at the image of the cold air spewing from a can duster created with the schlieren imaging system at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

System Description:
Schlieren is the German word for “streak”. Heat locally changes the density of air. Regions of air that are warm are less dense than regions that are cold. This is why heat rises; the hot air floats while the cold air sinks. When a ray passes through a region of air that has a different density than the air surrounding it, the light ray bends. This is called refraction. Think of a hot day when the asphalt road has a shimmering mirage that looks like a puddle of water. The hot road warms the air causing strong refraction of light. The same exact thing happens to the air around our bodies, but it is much harder to see. Schlieren imaging produces streaks of dark and light bands so that we can see very small differences in air density and watch heat rise from you hand.

Video of the system in action: https://youtu.be/GHy7Ca9mChk

Other links about Schlieren: