Fluorescence Night Diving

Fluorescence night dives (or “fluo diving” for short) is also known as “fluoro dives” or “glow dives” have grown increasingly popular recently. More and more dive centres offer fluo diving, and more and more vendors for the necessary equipment appear on the market.

A better understanding of the background and basics allows to make more of this exhilarating experience some people say that fluo diving is like being in the movie “Avatar”.

Here you can experience the amazing Fluo Diving:

Why does this happen

Schematic of fluorescence

Schematic of fluorescence

Fluorescence is the physical effect shown by some materials to absorb light of high energy (and therefore short wavelengths) and to re-emit light of lower energy (and therefore longer wavelengths), see the schematic picture.

Other sources of energy may also cause the same effect, such as for example high-speed electrons for instance in cathode ray tubes.

This phenomenon not only occurs in living organisms, but also in minerals the mineral “fluorite” or “fluorspar” or calcium fluoride gave this effect its name, by the way, and interestingly also in petrified fossils.

Learn more about fluorescence

Fluorescence should not be confused with phosphorescence that you know from your dive instruments or glow-in-the-dark toys. Phosphorescence has the capability to store light, and re-emitted it over a longer period of time, and is therefore not the same.

Fluorescence Diving

Steffen Beyer

The phosphor coating on the inside of cathode ray tubes and fluorescent tubes (neon lamps) provides both fluorescence as well as phosphorescence (the familiar afterglow).

This is also why you will find an option “fluorescent light” under the white balance menu in your digital camera. This is not the correct setting for underwater fluorescence photography and filming, though! More on that in a later article on Fluorescence Night Diving!

Have you ever experienced Fluorescence Night Diving? What do you think about it? Leave a comment below!