I took this image from my Lab, a couple of weeks ago. I live close to Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, about 3,300 m high. Etna is in an almost constant state of activity and we are kind of used to those smoke plumes.
Scientists have been fascinated by Etna’s eruptions already long time ago. The first we know about is Empedocles (c. 490–430 BC), a Greek philosopher from Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily. He’s famous for introducing the theory of the four Classical elements, – fire, air, water, earth. Diogenes Laertius and other Greek and Roman writers report that he perished since he let himself fall into the crater in order to discover Etna’s secrets. We would call him an experimental physicist.
I’m not that curious as Empedocles, so I just did some investigation from the doorstep of my lab, using my 200 mm telephoto lens.
In this post I showed how a modified digital camera for infrared photography can be used as a thermal camera to imaging hot objects and I took, as an example, some shots of a hot plate turned on. The thermal radiation of an object at about 1000 degree Celsius has a tail in the digital photographic infrared region and, indeed, the hot plate appeared bright.
Well, lava is a pretty hot staff and so I thought it was worth to take a video with my IR modified digital camera using both the visible and the infrared filters on the lens. Furthermore, infrared light can penetrate smoke better than visible light (infrared cameras are used by fire depths).