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LUMISTAR INFRARED IMAGING NEWS

By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

December 15, 2014

Thermal Imaging Shows Penguins’ Unusual Phenomena

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France

Courtesy of Université de Strasbourg and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Strasbourg, France
After studying Emperor penguins using thermal imaging cameras, scientists from Glasgow University in Glasgow, UK discovered that these Antarctic birds keep warm by an unusual phenomena where temperatures can reach -40C. Studying penguins In the French-claimed sector of Antarctica named Adélie Land, scientists  discovered that penguin’s feathers or plumage are colder than that of the surrounding air. As a result thermal radiation, heat from the warm bodies is lost to the colder air, is minimized. Penguins, similar to humans at 37C, maintain core temperature of approximately 36.9C but only their eyes, beaks, and feet were warmer than the surrounding air, and only their eyes are above freezing. Similar to fighting fire with fire, Emperor penguins fight cold with cold. Thermal Imaging confirmed that penguins coats are four degrees Celsius colder than surrounding air. Penguins are able to accomplish this by having their coats face the upper atmosphere which is 20C colder than the surrounding air. For example, according to Glasgow scientists, a similar phenomenon can be observed if you park your car in the open on a cold night. Usually you will only find frost to have formed on the roof and windscreen but the sides do not ‘view’ the sky and therefore are radiating to relatively warmer surroundings. Penguins plumage is also so insulated it is equivalent to humans wearing two ski suits. Computer simulations confirmed their findings.

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