Why do we see Objects as Certain colors?


Our eyes and brain work together to interpret the different wavelengths of light as different colors. White light is composed of all possible wavelengths of visible light, and sunlight is very nearly white. Characteristics of various surfaces cause them to reflect or absorb certain wavelengths. The ones that are reflected to our eyes are what determine the color we perceive.

Color is simply how our brains respond to different wavelengths of light, and wavelengths outside the spectrum of visible light are invisible and colorless to us simply because our eyes can’t detect them.

Objects appear to have color since they are able to selectively absorb and reflect certain wavelengths of visible light. An object will appear white when it does not absorb any wavelength of visible light.... it is all scattered hence, the object will appear white.

An object will appear red when it absorbs all wavelengths of visible light except for red. An object will appear black when it absorbs all wavelengths of visible light, therefore, no light is scattered to our eye. Red light is scattered to our eye, so the object looks red

The sun emits white light the sum of all wavelengths (colors) of visible light together. When light hits an object – say, a blue car – the object absorbs some of the light and reflects the rest of it. Which wavelengths are reflected or absorbed depends on the properties of the object.


When you look at the blue car, the wavelengths of reflected light determine what color you see. The light waves reflect off the blue car's body and hit the light-sensitive retina at the back of your eye. That's where cones come in.


Cones are one type of photoreceptor, the tiny cells in the retina that respond to light. Most of us have 6 to 7 million cones, and almost all of them are concentrated on a 0.3 millimeter spot on the retina called the fovea centralis.

Not all of these cones are alike. About 64 percent of them respond most strongly to red light, while about a third are set off the most by green light. Another 2 percent respond strongest to blue light.

Humans, with our three cone types, are better at discerning color than most mammals, but plenty of animals beat us out in the color vision department. Many birds and fish have four types of cones, enabling them to see ultraviolet light, or light with wavelengths shorter than what the human eye can perceive.


Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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