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Glow Rocks!

It’s a GLOW ROCK DANCE PARTY! This video is best watched in the dark! In this video we explore the special properties of fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals to learn how and why they ‘glow’ under UV light (‘black light’). 

Did you know you can make signs that also glow under black light (uv light) by using regular ol’ highlighters and white poster board?! Sharpie makes a ‘Neon’ color pack that works, too! This could be a great activity in the classroom or for learning/playing at home.  

Have you ever found a glowing rock on the side of the road or by a creek? It’s likely that the luminescent mineral is quartz.  Quartz is just one type of fluorescent mineral. Many minerals exhibit this property as well as gemstones such as opal and tourmaline.  If you expose these rocks under a black light (UV) light, they will glow brightly because the UV light excites the electrons in the atoms of the mineral, causing them to release visible light. The color and brightness of these rocks depend on the size and shape of the minerals and how they react with certain wavelengths of light. 

Fluorescent minerals can be grouped into two categories: phosphorescent and luminescent. Phosphorescent rocks need to be exposed to UV before it can emit any visible light, while luminescent rocks are naturally emitting visible light without being exposed to UV first.  The main difference between phosphorescence and luminescence lies in how long an object will stay lit after being exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Phosphorescence needs to be left for at least 30 minutes before it starts giving out any bright colors or lights, while luminescence won’t start until 30 seconds following exposure