Can Thermal Scope See Through Smoke? Or Will It Get Smoked?

The first question when you plan to buy a thermal scope is can it see through smoke? If it does, how does it manage to do that? Well in short, yes, they can. But the real answer is a bit complicated and long.

So, stick around and find out.

What Can You See Through A Thermal Scope?

To put it simply, a thermal scope can see what’s hot and what’s cold. Unlike riflescopes that use prisms and other glass materials to use light reflection and turn them into images, thermal scope doesn’t use light.

Instead of that, thermal scopes use heat coming from objects and living things. The electronics inside the scope then turn that heat spot into an image that we can see.

The thermal image generated from the scope differs based on the temperature difference in the object. Depending on that, the range can vary from tiny to big.

Can Thermal Scope See Through Smoke?

Yes, they can. But not the way you are thinking. We don’t have Superman’s vision after all. The smoke particles can block light and prevent regular scope and binoculars from being effective.

As thermal scopes use heat signatures, they can penetrate smoke particles easily and allow the scope to do its job.

However, this won’t work through copious amounts of smoke.

As smoke is made out of heated particles, if the smoke source is too hot, then your thermal scope may pick up that source for the image as well.

Can Thermal Scope See Through Glass And Windows?

As glass is a very good insulator, thermal scopes in general can’t see through them. If you focus your scope on a glass, you might pick up the heat reflecting from the glass instead of what’s inside the glass.

So, in short, a thermal sensor can’t see through glass. It might render everything behind a glass as just a dark reflection.

Can Thermal Scope See Through Concrete Walls?

No, they can’t. The scene in Hollywood movies where you see people finding x-ray vision or heat images through walls is only applicable in movies.

Wood in general is a very good insulator. That’s why you see most kitchen utensils are made out of wood. They transfer less heat.

Can Thermal Scope See Through Fog?

Yes, they can. Fog particles aren’t as heavy or anti-reflective as smoke particles. Rather, they are quite bad at insulating. That’s why a thermal scope can easily sense heat passing through the fog and render an image.

However, you will need to keep one thing in mind, it won’t be as effective through fog as it would be in general.

Can A Thermal Scope See Through Metal?

No, it can’t. But a thermal scope can pick up the heat transmitted through that metal. If you place your hand on a sheet made of metal for a minute take it off and then see through a thermal scope, you will see the heat footprint of your hand on that metal. But you can’t see what’s inside that metal.

Can Thermal Scopes See Through Plastic?

It will depend on the thickness of the plastic. If the plastic is thin and just a single piece like bubble wrap for example or sheets that you use for food decor, then a thermal scope can see through those.

But if you are using a thick piece of plastic whose insulation is quite high, your scope won’t be able to show you anything.

Can You See Snakes Through Thermal Scope?

No, you can’t. Snakes are cold-blooded creatures that don’t reflect any heat or have any heat to begin with. But if the snake is residing on warm ground for a long time and its body catches on the heat from the ground, then your scope can pick up the image of a snake.

Is Thermal Scope Good For Hog Hunting?

Yes, it’s very good for hog hunting. Thermal scope images are quite great for hunting at night. That’s why some even prefer them more than night vision riflescopes.


And there you have it folks. Hopefully, your question was answered and you know a bit more about thermal scopes and how they work.

With that said, that’s all for now, hope to see you on the next one. Thanks for reading and take care.

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