How Glow-In-The-Dark Stuff Works Will Blow Your Mind

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These days, glow-in-the-dark objects seem to be everywhere we look.

We’ve come a long way from neon sticks handed to us at kid parties, and the stars that hung above our beds. Glow-in-the-dark shoes are no longer just for kids, and even the designer world is embracing the colorful trend, as Alexander Wang’s bag line suggests.

Most people know you have to “charge” these products (with sunlight or a flashlight) in order to get it to glow. But how exactly does glow-in-the-dark work?

These bright products credit their fluorescent hue to phosphors, a substance that “radiates visible light after being energized“. Basically, that means your product’s energy is slowly emitted over time. This goes for neon lights, and your phone and TV screen, too! Today, scientists can create phosphors that illuminate for much longer.

So when the sun comes up, the stars on your ceiling are recharged and they’re ready to go again when it’s dark later that night.

Cool, right? There are even some products that don’t even need to be recharged, like watches. That’s because the watches are made with elements that energize the phosphors all the time.

The same goes for jellyfish and fireflies, which glow naturally!

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