Seeing Color Bits
Written by: Kimberly Pegram

show/hide words to know

Photon: the smallest bit of light.

Photoreceptor: the special type of cell in your eye that picks up photons and then signals the brain. They are located in the retina (a layer at the back of the eye). There are two types, rods and cones.

Prism: a crystal object, such as cut glass, with at least three similar sides... more

Retina: getting its name from the Latin meaning "net", the retina is located at the back of the eye and is where light is detected... more

Wavelength: a property of photons that determines their energy (how \"strong\" they are).We see photons of different wavelengths as different colors.

Flashcard facts and information about how we see color

Biology Bits stories are a great way for you to learn about biology a little bit at a time. We’ve broken down information into pieces that are very tiny—bite-sized biology cards. Cutting out the cards will let you organize them however you want, or use them as flashcards while you read.

This set of bits will teach you about one of the ways we get information from the world around us: by seeing color. To learn more about the science behind your vision, visit Seeing Color.

Play the slide show from the beginning or pick a slide to begin with by clicking on a slide below.

Illustration of the colors in light leaving a lightbulb and going toward the eye.Illustration explaining reflection of certain colors.Illustration of the waves in a fluid.Illustration showing the wavelengths of visible light.Illustration of the different types of light, based on wavelength.Illustration showing the eye's retina and optic nerve.Illustration of rods and conesIllustration of overlapping photoreceptors in humans.Illustration showing a colorblindness test.A close-up illustration of a house fly.Illustration of light shining through a prism.A drawing of Sir Isaac Newton.Cartoon face talking

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Seeing Color Bits
  • Author(s): Kimberly Pegram
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: October 1, 2014
  • Date accessed: July 15, 2024
  • Link:

APA Style

Kimberly Pegram. (2014, October 01). Seeing Color Bits. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved July 15, 2024 from

American Psychological Association. For more info, see

Chicago Manual of Style

Kimberly Pegram. "Seeing Color Bits". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 October, 2014.

MLA 2017 Style

Kimberly Pegram. "Seeing Color Bits". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 Oct 2014. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 15 Jul 2024.

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see
Beaver teeth

Here are some pieces of biology that you can sink your teeth into. One bit at a time.

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