How do we see in color?

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Infrared: invisible light rays (for humans) that are beyond the red end of the visible spectrum... more

Ultraviolet: (1) light waves at wavelengths less than those visible to humans. Also called UV light. (2) invisible light rays just below the violet end of the spectrum... more

The Visible and Non-visible Light Spectrum

light chart

As you can see from the illustration above, visible light is only a very small portion of all light waves. You may ask yourself why is it that we only see the "visible" portion of light? If you study the illustration above, you will see at the earth's surface almost all the wavelengths with any significant energy are visible (see the green peak). There are some very small amounts of ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths that are present. In some cases, insects and other animals have adapted to see with those wavelengths.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Light Spectrum
  • Author(s): Dr. Biology
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: December 17, 2009
  • Date accessed: February 20, 2018
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/spectrum-light

APA Style

Dr. Biology. (2009, December 17). Light Spectrum . ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved February 20, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/spectrum-light

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Dr. Biology. "Light Spectrum ". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 December, 2009. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/spectrum-light

MLA 2017 Style

Dr. Biology. "Light Spectrum ". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 17 Dec 2009. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 20 Feb 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/spectrum-light

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Visible light spectrum

The visible light spectrum humans can see is only a small part of all light wavelengths.

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