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Name: Unknown
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Date: Around 1993


Question:
Why is it that dark colors absorb more solar energy than light colors? That means that dark areas of the earth are warmer in sunny weather. Is this because less light is reflected? Would dark blue be a cooler color than dark purple or red?



Replies:
Basically, darker colors are dark because they absorb more of the light that hits them. In general, light striking a non-shiny object is either scattered diffusely, transmitted through the material, or absorbed. When we look at the object we are seeing the diffusely scattered light, and (assuming the object is opaque enough so that not much gets transmitted) the colors we see are all those in the original light source that did not get absorbed. A dark object absorbs most of the light that hits it, so almost no light is scattered back to give it color.

A. Smith



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