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How does and object get its color?

  1. Apr 28, 2012 #1
    I know that color depends on wavelenght but what affects the wavelenght? We have white light and it goes on an object there gets its color and then into my eye. So how does that object get its color? And when im there... is true that single atoms cannot be displayed by light? I think I have heard or read that but I am not sure about this
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2012 #2

    mathman

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    In general terms, the object will absorb some wavwlengths and reflect others. The color is determined by what is reflected.
     
  4. Apr 28, 2012 #3

    phinds

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    look up pigments
     
  5. Apr 28, 2012 #4

    Pengwuino

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    Remember,white light is actually a combination of all the colors in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. As mathman explained, materials will absorb some light and reflect other light. The color that an object appears is the color that is least absorbed by the material.
     
  6. Apr 29, 2012 #5
    Ah I understand but what affects that object to absorb some wave lenght and reflect some wavelenght? Is that by how atoms are shaped? If someone reads this yet, tell me if its true that atoms cannot be displayed by light, please.
     
  7. Apr 29, 2012 #6
  8. Apr 29, 2012 #7
    Ah, I think what you're looking for is what decides the energy level when a photon is emitted?

    More energetic photons correspond to light with a shorter wavelength and our eye sees it more towards the blue end of the spectrum, less energetic towards the red end.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_spectrum
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectroscopy
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavelength
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optics

    To observe an atom you would need wavelengths short enough to reflect from a very small object, we use electron microscopes for this because they have a small enough cross section to provide useful data.
     
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