What are some interesting facts about ultraviolet light?

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ultraviolet or UV light does have some interesting properties. One is that it has both positive and negative effects on human health. On the plus side, exposure to UV helps humans generate vitamin D. On the negative, overexposure increases the risk of skin cancer.


The ozone layer blocks some UV light, which is useful for human health, but which distorts our image of the universe, as very hot stars generate more UV light. That means we see the heavens in a slightly distorted fashion.

Of course, one fun fact about ultraviolet light is that some forms of it (known as black lights) make some things glow that don't glow in normal light.

sid-sarfraz | Student

What are some interesting facts about ultraviolet light?

Ultraviolet light meaning beyond light, are the most powerful electromagnetic rays that comes from sunlight.

These UV rays have benefits and sideeffects. Some fascinating facts are as follows:-

  • Our cornea is a good absorber of light hence UV rays can damage our eyes if one keeps on looking at the rays.
  • UV rays is beneficial in providing vitamin D but if taken in limits. UV rays can cause skin to burn if taken in excess.
  • UV light is powerful as many things can be seen by our eyes in UV light as compared to light inside our homes. Like for example facial hair can be seen properly in UV light while as compared to light inside our homes as we cannot see all of it.
  • UV rays can make our skin to darken when absorbed in excess.
  • UV light can be used to kill bacteria and germs in air. Like in our homes remove the curtains and provide UV rays the space to come inside, you will automatically find your room fresh.
  • In hospitals and medical centres UV rays are used to sterilize equipment used like scissors etc.
  • UV light can be seen be bees, helpful for them in pollination 
  • UV rays can be used to see finger prints etc with the help of special powder, in police forensics departments.
  • UV rays are harmful for our skin as they triggers the aging process.
  • UV rays can cause skin cancer.
  • UV rays when passes through magnifying glass can burn the paper
  • In order to reduce the level of pathogens in apples, it is treated with UV light.
  • UV light kills bacteria and flying insects
  • UV light is used in banks as for the purpose for proving that our sign is genuine
revolution | Student

Sunlamp is a lamp that involves the usage of UV-light, where it shines the ultraviolet radiation onto a person lying on a sunbed. UV-radiation also kills bacteria and viruses, so it is used to sterilize hospital operating rooms and surgical instruments before a surgery begins. Also, in the supermarkets, look closely and you can see low intensity ultra-violet lamps that are placed above grocery meat containers, so that poultry would not rot too easily.

Furthermore, some chemicals fluoresce when ultraviolet light falls on it. These chemicals would absorb the radiation and then emit visible light which makes them glow. You can use this technique in paper chromatography if the dyes are colorless, not visible to the naked eye.

Another interesting fact is that UV-light can be used in banks too. Do you realize when you are making a banking transaction, the bank teller uses a special lamp to read your "invisible" signature in the passbook or use it to check for fake notes. This process actually involves the use of UV-light, as when the notes are scanned by the UV-light, your hidden signature and certain markings on the notes will glow under the UV-light, thus proving its genuineness.

One more thing to note is that washing powders also involve the use of ultra-violet radiation, so your clothes actually "glows" too.