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Thu Jan 11, 2018, 10:16 PM

The 'Black Hole' Optical Illusion of the Bird of Paradise Explained By Stephanie Pappas, Live Scienc

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | January 11, 2018 01:34pm ET

The blackest feathers of these rainforest birds are fundamentally differently shaped, on a microscopic level, compared with regular black feathers. The nanostructure of the feather makes them particularly prone to scattering and reabsorbing light, and that in turn makes them not only black, but a dull black that seems to whisk light away.

"The black is so striking on these birds of paradise. It really does look different," said Teresa Feo, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Birds. "When you look at them, they're so dark your eyes can't focus on them. You almost feel a little woozy." [In Photos: Beautiful Hummingbirds of the World]

Blackest of blacks
Birds of paradise are better known for their dramatically flashy colors than their dark plumage. They are found in places like Indonesia and Australia, and are famous for their long tails, bright colors and showy mating dances.

Alongside their colorful feathers, though, many species sport matte black feathers that are "just so weird," Feo told Live Science. This weirdness prompted Harvard graduate student Dakota McCoy to start studying the feathers' structure to figure out why they were so good at absorbing light. Feo and several other colleagues would later join the project to help do imaging work and model the optics of the feather structures of five bird of paradise species and two plain black bird species.


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Reply The 'Black Hole' Optical Illusion of the Bird of Paradise Explained By Stephanie Pappas, Live Scienc (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2018 OP
Phoenix61 Jan 2018 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Thu Jan 11, 2018, 10:24 PM

1. That is really cool

It looks like a video game image.

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