Ultraviolet Spotlight Reveals Oil Spill At Its Most Psychedelic

The oil disaster in the Gulf has produced some profoundly distressing imagery, from photographs of oil-soaked animals to satellite shots of the slick's sprawling tendrils. But these are a little bit different.

Black lights, best known for their use in seedy after hours establishments, head shops, and college dorm rooms, are being put to use in the Gulf to illuminate hard-to-see particles of oil in beautiful, vivid orange.

Ultraviolet Spotlight Reveals Oil Spill At Its Most Psychedelic

And these are not just those purple lightbulbs of yore—Chris Combs, photography editor for National Geographic News, took these photos using a $1800 "Klingon Death Ray" UV spotlight to light up the oil.

NatGeo News has several more shots from Combs' photo essay, all of which look really beautiful, until you remember what you're looking at. [National Geographic via BoingBoing]