MadSci Network: Physics

Re: i can see the color red because red reflects back to my eye-so why can i

Date: Fri Jan 16 07:52:39 2004
Posted By: Keith Allison, , dept: New Product, Technology & Development, Binney & Smith, Inc. (Crayola)
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1074100295.Ph

Dear Becky,

You are correct when you say that you see red because it is reflected back 
to you.  The colors of light you see are usually a mixture of the light 
that reflects off of objects after some of the white light (from a light 
bulb or the sun) has been absorbed by the object.  You actually see the 
left-over colors of light that did not stick to the object, but bounced 

As to silver and gold, these are metallic colors that are very 
reflective.  Most of the light reflects off of these very flat surfaces.  
Otherwise, silver and gold are just another shade of colors: silver is a 
light-gray, and the gold is a yellow-brown shade.  These colors just 
happen to be very shiny because of how smooth and flat the metal surface 
is...  In fact, metallic inks are made by coloring tiny metal flakes with 
these shades to make silver and gold metallic markers... 

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