Ever wonder why your highlighters glow in the dark? How about glow sticks at a rave? Our world is full of glowing objects that awe us even into adulthood, and their existence is easily explained.


At least, it’s easy to understand thanks to the American Chemical Society, which released a video to explain why some stuff you have glows in the dark as part of its Reactions: This is Chemistry series.

It comes down to a compound called pyranine. We normally can see things on the visible light spectrum, but pyranine can absorb waves from the ultraviolent end. When pyranine absorbs it, it has a rave of its own, releasing the energy as visible light. We’re basically seeing colors that normally exist outside the visible light spectrum.


Check out the rest of the description in the video below.

Additionally, the American Chemical Society released a video showing how you can put that luminescence into something like flowers. Whether putting highlighter ink in a plant’s drinking water is healthy is a subject for another video.

[Laughing Squid]