Color and Light of Sun
Name: Jeremy Lucas S.
Date: Thursday, August 22, 2002
Why is the light of the sun white, while its color is yellow?
When I look at the sun, which I do as little as possible and then only
through very dark glass, it appears white to me.
The sunlight hitting a white sheet of paper is certainly white and since
that is the same light that would hit your eye, how could it look yellow?
I would be interested in learning what led you to believe that the color
of the sun is yellow.
Best, Dick Plano
Although I am not an expert on all things solar; here is my take on your
question. The "yellow" you see from the sun has to do with the fusion of
the "hydrogen burning", if you will, within the sun. If you look at the sun
there are more than just yellows. Reds, oranges, and other colors seem to
The light that we see on Earth does not come from the yellow "flames" of the
sun. Light comes from the productions of millions, zillions of photons in
the core of the sun. This is a byproduct of the fusion going on at the core
of the sun. These photons travel through space at ALL wavelengths of the
electromagnetic spectrum, which includes visible light, which we refer to as
white. The whole EM spectrum includes such things as radio waves,
microwaves, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays.
If you would like to know more, check out howstuffworks.lycoszone.com/sun .
There are some quick and dirty explanations as well as links to sites with
more technical info, (like NASA).
Have fun on your solar search.
Light from the sun is "white" because it is made up of approximately equal
intensities of all visible wavelengths. The apparent color of yellow comes
from two sources: 1. The atmosphere scatters blue light more than other
longer wavelengths skewing the toward longer wavelengths. 2. The eye is not
equally sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light. In most people
(excepting "color blind" individuals) the eye is most sensitive to
wavelengths in the "yellow" to "yellow-green" range. It is for this latter
reason that now fire engines are painted that "yucky" shade of
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Update: June 2012