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Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Causes the Colors We See Around Us?

What Causes the Colors We See Around Us?

Color is a perception that arises from the responses of our visual systems to light in the environment and light is the cause of the many colors we see around us. Ordinary light seems white as it shines, but it is actually a combination of colors – violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

The color of anything depends on the color of the light rays it reflects. When light shines on a red rose, for example, the flower absorbs most of the colors in the light and reflects only the red rays to our eyes, so the rose looks red. Where there is no light there is no color to be sent back to our eyes.

A tree that is green when you see it in light appears black at night. There are many reasons why things are the color they are, but mainly it is due to the absorption and the scattering properties of the material being different from that of the incoming wavelengths of the light that illuminate it.

Content for this question contributed by Zachary Dahl, resident of Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, California, USA