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Q & A: Red Lights in Submarines!

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Q:
I was wondering why do submarines have red interior lighting while in combat.
- George Belegris (age 24)
University of Crete, Rethimno, Greece
A:
George -

Thatís a very good question! It turns out that some submarines use red interior lights for the same reason as airport control towers (at night), planetariums, and some movie theaters. The reason is that itís easier for your eyes to adjust from red light to dark than from white light to dark. If youíre going to try looking out the window of a submarine, youíll want your night vision totally in gear!

For an explanation of the biology involved and some more examples of where this is useful, check out this site. They also explain how dim blue lights can sometimes be useful on submarines.

-Tamara

(republished on 07/17/06)

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