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Black lights are not that different from any other type of light, whether incandescent, fluorescent, or just the age old candle flame. A normal Fluorescent bulb creates light by channeling electricity through a conductive inert gas. UVB radiation was once thought to be the dominant precursor to skin cancers from UV radiation.
Ever wonder how tanning booths can make you burn in 10 minutes while it may take hours in sunlight? Aside from revealing those around you who have dandruff, black lights have very practical purposes.
Another ingenious use for black lights is to diagnose certain types of bacterial infections. Some common vitamins that fluoresce include A, and B vitamins, niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. On average in the United States, UVB radiation is most prevalent between 10AM and 4PM from April to October. Find Us On YouTube!Subscribe today to check out our free Daily Knowledge Youtube video series!
These original EMS pages will be available until May 31, 2011 at which point you'll automatically be redirected to the new pages. We can study stars and galaxies by studying the UV light they give off - but did you know we can even study the Earth? The difference is that black lights emit most of their light waves just outside the range humans can perceive, in the Ultraviolet (UV) part of the spectrum.
When a photon from UV light hits the phosphorous material, it causes the electrons to get excited and stray farther from the nucleus than they normally would. They add a small amount of mercury inside the tube, or bulb, that will give off light photons when energized.
So shut off all the visible light sources and let the black light show you what you most likely never wanted to see!

Tanning booths emit UVA light sometimes as much as 12 times that of what reaches us from the Sun. Some bacteria naturally fluoresce under UV light and, as such, certain infections can be diagnosed by shining a black light on the patient. Bacteria have proteins in their cell walls that will bind with water, even when the microbe itself is dead. These materials all tend to have rigid molecular structures that contain delocalized electrons (ones that are not associated with any specific atom within the molecule). When a UV light wave hits an object containing substances known as phosphors, those phosphors will naturally fluoresce, and glow. When the electron falls back to its normal state, some of the energy is lost in the form of heat.
Right in the middle of these is a sliver of the spectrum that we can see with our human eyes, namely visible light waves. This is because UVA radiation is less intense and it penetrates more deeply than UVB; so it was thought that they did not damage the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). So the next time you feel like getting a tan via a tanning bed, know that people who use tanning booths are 2.5 times more likely to get squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, neither of which do you want to get! Most laundry detergents will also fluoresce, which helps your white clothes glow extra bright under a black light.
I hope you don’t mind a little constructive criticism, because otherwise this is a well written and informative article. When the UV light wave is reflected back to your human eyes, it now has less energy, therefore a shorter wavelength. Instead of creating light in the visible spectrum, the coating absorbs harmful UV-B and UV-C light waves and creates UV-A waves. All of the light that is created by the heated filament is filtered out, except those waves in the infrared and UV-A spectrum.  The filter absorbs the rest, which is why this type of black light tends to get extremely hot, even for an incandescent bulb, and has a short lifespan. Numerous recent studies have disproved that theory and UVA waves have been shown to damage skin cells at the basal layer of the epidermis, which is where most skin cancers occur.

For you teenage girls out there who just love your booth time, you should know that the first session you get in a tanning bed will increase your risk of melanoma by 75%. This type of bacteria has 191 known species and is the second leading cause of infections in hospitals. To get the visible light out of the bulb, a phosphorus coating is applied to the glass and reacts to the UV waves and creates the visible light hospitals everywhere are famous for!
UVC wavelengths are absorbed by the ozone layer and as such do not reach us here on the Earth surface. When attracted to the source, they will receive a life-ending shock from whatever electrical mechanism that surrounds the light.
Some ski resorts have caught on to this little phenomenon and have started adding dead microbes to their artificial snow-making machines. According to the Standard Model of Particle Physics, it is a currently accepted notion that gravity is indeed a fundamental force. The end result being, you cannot see the majority of the light coming from the source, but you can see its reflection off of objects containing phosphors.
One of the reasons humans can see more of the light from a bug zapper, than from any other black light, is that bug zappers use clear glass (because it’s cheaper) instead of filter coated glass. Scientists have also discovered that natural snow contains large amounts of these microbes. As mentioned, there are several types of body fluids that will glow under UV light, blood, semen, and urine for example. Though helpful for the ski resorts, one type, Pseudomonas syringae, is a nuisance for farmers as it almost immediately destroys crops and plants below freezing.

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