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Name: Paul
Status: other
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
Why is air invisable? Is it's matter transparent? Why cant we see air?


Replies:
The molecules that make up air (nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide, argon) just don't happen to absorb light in the wavelengths our eyes can see. Infrared light is absorbed quite well by water vapor, and most of the gases in air strongly absorb short-wave ultraviolet (< 200 nm wavelength). Our eyes are sensitive to a window in which air is fairly clear.

Richard Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Chemical Separations Group



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