Glowing Scorpion

22 Feb

scorpion specimen 1This is one of my NatureCurio specimens. It is a mature female Empire Scorpion, Pandinus imperator. She lived for about 12 years. That is a long time for a scorpion. She had lots of offspring during that time. One of her progeny is on display right now at the museum.

scorpion specimen framed url

This species of scorpion is not poisonous. It is black with a red telson (stinger).

Something interesting happens to scorpions when they are held under ultraviotet (black) light. They glow. Scientist don’t really know why. But it is cool.
blue scorpion

What is the cause of fluorescence?

All matter, everything we can touch and feel, is made up of atoms. The atoms have a center called a nucleus made up of subatomic particles called neutrons (that have no charge) and protons (that have a positive charge). The electrons (with a negative charged) spin in the cloud around them.

The cloud is made up of orbitals or shells, these are paths the electrons travel in. Each orbital corresponds to a particular energy level of the electron, or the force that holds them in place as they travel around and around the center.

When energy from ultraviolet (UV) light hits the electrons it causes them to jump up to the next orbital leaving a gap. At the same time an electron from the higher level drops down to fill that gap giving off a definite amount of energy in the form of visible light, that we can see. This definite amount is called a ‘quanta’ which is also called a photon. This happens very fast with lots of electrons moving back and forth the same time some absorb energy and move up and some lose energy and drop down, to our eyes it’s a constant glow. Depending on the amount of energy given off different colors and intensities, or brightness can be seen.

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