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Seeing in Color

Colors can be a tricky thing. Did you know that the female eye can pick up on more colors than a male eye? Just something to keep in mind the next time you’re arguing about whether something is pink or if it’s salmon. To keep this fairly simple, we are going to ignore shades and stick with the basic colors.


The color white consists of every other color, which is why rainbows appear from raindrops or clear crystals, while (pure) black is made of every other color. When an object appears any color- for now, lets use a blue notebook as the example, rather than absorbing most wavelengths and reflecting just the one necessary to produce blue, the notebook is actually doing the exact opposite- it reflects every single wavelength except for the wavelength for blue, which it absorbs. This processes allows us to know that the notebook in question is in fact blue.

This is why black roads will occasionally (or frequently if you live in Arizona) be hot enough to cook an egg. Pure black absorbs every single wave of light, and while roads are not pure black (meaning they do reflect a few wavelengths of light), they still collect a very large amount of light, making them hot enough to cook on.

Not only are colors nice to look at and allow us to have accent walls, but they can also give us important information such as temperature. Stove tops turn red when we turn them on, and fire glows with multiple shades. This indicates heat, and we pick these up and know not to touch things that are glowing red like this.