Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:43 and 3:43 a.m.

Blackest Black





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Ladies love a guy dressed in black...especially lady spiders!

 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying that’s right!

 

Male peacock spiders use a slick dance and super black spots to woo the ladies. These areas aren’t just dark, they’re super dark! Meaning, they absorb more than ninety-nine percent of light. So how are the spots so darn black?

 

Enter Dakota McCoy and colleagues from Harvard University. They wondered - is there more to this spider-black fashion statement than simply dark pigment? 

 

They used a powerful microscope to examine and visualize the spiders’ dark exterior.

 

What did they find? Amazing!  The black spots were made up of tightly packed circular bumps. They act like bumpers in a pinball machine, causing light to bounce around inside them. Light gets sucked in, captured and absorbed by the spiders’ dark pigment. It’s a spidery black hole - not to mention, a very classy look!

 

McCoy hopes these structures can help engineers design better light capturing tools, like solar panels.

 

So whether it’s Goth, beatnik or the classic tux - black is always right for the occasion… no matter how many legs you have!