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Visible spectrum
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{{short description|Portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye}}{{Redirect|Color spectrum|The Dear Hunter album|The Color Spectrum}}File:Light dispersion of a mercury-vapor lamp with a flint glass prism IPNr°0125.jpg|thumb|White light is dispersed by a prism into the colors of the visible spectrum.]]File:Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.jpg|thumb|LaserLaserThe visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. Electromagnetic radiation in this range of wavelengths is called visible light or simply light. A typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 380 to 740 nanometers.BOOK, Biology: Concepts and Applications, Starr, Cecie, Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2005, 978-0-534-46226-0,weblink In terms of frequency, this corresponds to a band in the vicinity of 430–770 THz.The spectrum does not contain all the colors that the human eyes and brain can distinguish. Unsaturated colors such as pink, or purple variations like magenta, for example, are absent because they can only be made from a mix of multiple wavelengths. Colors containing only one wavelength are also called pure colors or spectral colors.Visible wavelengths pass largely unattenuated through the Earth's atmosphere via the "optical window" region of the electromagnetic spectrum. An example of this phenomenon is when clean air scatters blue light more than red light, and so the midday sky appears blue. The optical window is also referred to as the "visible window" because it overlaps the human visible response spectrum. The near infrared (NIR) window lies just out of the human vision, as well as the medium wavelength infrared (MWIR) window, and the long wavelength or far infrared (LWIR or FIR) window, although other animals may experience them.

History

File:Newton's color circle.png|thumb|Newton's color circle, from Opticks of 1704, showing the colors he associated with musical notes. The spectral colors from red to violet are divided by the notes of the musical scale, starting at D. The circle completes a full octave, from D to D. Newton's circle places red, at one end of the spectrum, next to violet, at the other. This reflects the fact that non-spectral purplepurpleIn the 13th century, Roger Bacon theorized that rainbows were produced by a similar process to the passage of light through glass or crystal.BOOK,weblink The Science of Logic: An Inquiry Into the Principles of Accurate Thought, Peter, Coffey, 1912, Longmans, In the 17th century, Isaac Newton discovered that prisms could disassemble and reassemble white light, and described the phenomenon in his book Opticks. He was the first to use the word spectrum (Latin for "appearance" or "apparition") in this sense in print in 1671 in describing his experiments in optics. Newton observed that, when a narrow beam of sunlight strikes the face of a glass prism at an angle, some is reflected and some of the beam passes into and through the glass, emerging as different-colored bands. Newton hypothesized light to be made up of "corpuscles" (particles) of different colors, with the different colors of light moving at different speeds in transparent matter, red light moving more quickly than violet in glass. The result is that red light is bent (refracted) less sharply than violet as it passes through the prism, creating a spectrum of colors.File:Newton prismatic colours.JPG|thumb|right|350px|Newton's observation of prismatic colors (David BrewsterDavid Brewster Newton originally divided the spectrum into six named colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. He later added indigo as the seventh color since he believed that seven was a perfect number as derived from the ancient Greek sophists, of there being a connection between the colors, the musical notes, the known objects in the solar system, and the days of the week.BOOK, Isacoff, Stuart, Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization,weblink 18 March 2014, 16 January 2009, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 978-0-307-56051-3, 12–13, The human eye is relatively insensitive to indigo's frequencies, and some people who have otherwise-good vision cannot distinguish indigo from blue and violet. For this reason, some later commentators, including Isaac Asimov,BOOK, Asimov, Isaac, Eyes on the universe : a history of the telescope, 1975, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 978-0-395-20716-1, 59, registration,weblink have suggested that indigo should not be regarded as a color in its own right but merely as a shade of blue or violet. Evidence indicates that what Newton meant by "indigo" and "blue" does not correspond to the modern meanings of those color words. Comparing Newton's observation of prismatic colors to a color image of the visible light spectrum shows that "indigo" corresponds to what is today called blue, whereas "blue" corresponds to cyan.BOOK, Evans, Ralph M., The perception of color, 1974, Wiley-Interscience, New York, 978-0-471-24785-2, null, JOURNAL, McLaren, K., Newton's indigo, Color Research & Application, March 2007, 10, 4, 225–229, 10.1002/col.5080100411, BOOK, Waldman, Gary, Introduction to light : the physics of light, vision, and color, 2002, Dover Publications, Mineola, 978-0-486-42118-6, 193,weblink Dover, In the 18th century, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote about optical spectra in his Theory of Colours. Goethe used the word spectrum (Spektrum) to designate a ghostly optical afterimage, as did Schopenhauer in On Vision and Colors. Goethe argued that the continuous spectrum was a compound phenomenon. Where Newton narrowed the beam of light to isolate the phenomenon, Goethe observed that a wider aperture produces not a spectrum but rather reddish-yellow and blue-cyan edges with white between them. The spectrum appears only when these edges are close enough to overlap.In the early 19th century, the concept of the visible spectrum became more definite, as light outside the visible range was discovered and characterized by William Herschel (infrared) and Johann Wilhelm Ritter (ultraviolet), Thomas Young, Thomas Johann Seebeck, and others.BOOK
, The Cambridge History of Science: The Modern Physical and Mathematical Sciences
, 5
, Mary Jo Nye (editor)
, Cambridge University Press
, 2003
, 978-0-521-57199-9
, 278
,weblink
,
Young was the first to measure the wavelengths of different colors of light, in 1802.BOOK
, Lines of light: the sources of dispersive spectroscopy, 1800–1930
, John C. D. Brand
, CRC Press
, 1995
, 978-2-88449-163-1
, 30–32
,weblink
,
The connection between the visible spectrum and color vision was explored by Thomas Young and Hermann von Helmholtz in the early 19th century. Their theory of color vision correctly proposed that the eye uses three distinct receptors to perceive color.{{clear}}

Color perception across species

{{See also|Color vision#Physiology of color perception}}Many species can see light within frequencies outside the human "visible spectrum". Bees and many other insects can detect ultraviolet light, which helps them find nectar in flowers. Plant species that depend on insect pollination may owe reproductive success to their appearance in ultraviolet light rather than how colorful they appear to humans. Birds, too, can see into the ultraviolet (300–400 nm), and some have sex-dependent markings on their plumage that are visible only in the ultraviolet range.BOOK, Cuthill, Innes C, Innes Cuthill, Peter J.B. Slater, Advances in the Study of Behavior, Academic Press, Oxford, England, 1997, 29, Ultraviolet vision in birds, 161, 978-0-12-004529-7, BOOK, Jamieson, Barrie G. M., Reproductive Biology and Phylogeny of Birds, University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA, 2007, 128, 978-1-57808-386-2, Many animals that can see into the ultraviolet range cannot see red light or any other reddish wavelengths. Bees' visible spectrum ends at about 590 nm, just before the orange wavelengths start.JOURNAL, Skorupski, Peter, Chittka, Lars, 10 August 2010, Photoreceptor Spectral Sensitivity in the Bumblebee, Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae), PLoS ONE, 5, 8, e12049, 10.1371/journal.pone.0012049, 20711523, 2919406, 2010PLoSO...512049S, Birds can see some red wavelengths, although not as far into the light spectrum as humans.Varela, F. J.; Palacios, A. G.; Goldsmith T. M. (1993) "Color vision of birds", pp. 77–94 in Vision, Brain, and Behavior in Birds, eds. Zeigler, Harris Philip and Bischof, Hans-Joachim. MIT Press. {{ISBN|9780262240369}} The popular belief that the common goldfish is the only animal that can see both infrared and ultraviolet lightWEB,weblink True or False? "The common goldfish is the only animal that can see both infra-red and ultra-violet light.", Skeptive, 2013, September 28, 2013,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20131224110616weblink">weblink December 24, 2013, dead, mdy-all, is incorrect, because goldfish cannot see infrared light.BOOK, Neumeyer, Christa, Olga, Lazareva, Toru, Shimizu, Edward, Wasserman, How Animals See the World: Comparative Behavior, Biology, and Evolution of Vision, Oxford Scholarship Online, 2012, Chapter 2: Color Vision in Goldfish and Other Vertebrates, 978-0-19-533465-4, Similarly, dogs are often thought to be color blind but they have been shown to be sensitive to colors, though not as many as humans.JOURNAL, 10.1098/rspb.2013.1356, 23864600, 3730601, Colour cues proved to be more informative for dogs than brightness, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280, 1766, 20131356, 2013, Kasparson, A. A, Badridze, J, Maximov, V. V, Some snakes can "see"JOURNAL, 2693128, 7256281, 213, 4509, Integration of visual and infrared information in bimodal neurons in the rattlesnake optic tectum, 1981, Science, 789–91, Newman, EA, Hartline, PH, 10.1126/science.7256281, 1981Sci...213..789N, radiant heat at wavelengths between 5 and 30 Î¼m to a degree of accuracy such that a blind rattlesnake can target vulnerable body parts of the prey at which it strikes,JOURNAL, Kardong, KV, Mackessy, SP, 1991, The strike behavior of a congenitally blind rattlesnake, Journal of Herpetology, 25, 2, 208–211, 10.2307/1564650, 1564650, and other snakes with the organ may detect warm bodies from a meter away.JOURNAL, 10.1038/news.2010.122, Snake infrared detection unravelled, Fang, Janet, Nature News, 14 March 2010, It may also be used in thermoregulation and predator detection.JOURNAL, Krochmal, Aaron R., George S. Bakken, Travis J. LaDuc, Heat in evolution's kitchen: evolutionary perspectives on the functions and origin of the facial pit of pitvipers (Viperidae: Crotalinae), Journal of Experimental Biology, 15 November 2004, 207, 4231–4238, 10.1242/jeb.01278, 15531644, Pt 24, Greene HW. (1992). "The ecological and behavioral context for pitviper evolution", in Campbell JA, Brodie ED Jr. Biology of the Pitvipers. Texas: Selva. {{ISBN|0-9630537-0-1}}. (See Infrared sensing in snakes)

Spectral colors{| class"wikitable" style"float:right; width:400px; text-align:center; margin:0.5em auto; width:auto; margin-left:1em;"

! colspan="4" style="background:#FFF;" | (File:Linear visible spectrum.svg|center|250px|sRGB rendering of the spectrum of visible light)!Color!Wavelength!Frequency!Photon energy
Violet|380–450 nm|680–790 THzElectronvolt>eV
Blue|450–485 nm|620–680 THz|2.64–2.75 eV
Cyan|485–500 nm|600–620 THz|2.48–2.52 eV
Green|500–565 nm|530–600 THz|2.25–2.34 eV
Yellow|565–590 nm|510–530 THz|2.10–2.17 eV
Orange|590–625 nm|480–510 THz|2.00–2.10 eV
Red|625–740 nm|405–480 THz|1.65–2.00 eV
Colors that can be produced by visible light of a narrow band of wavelengths (monochromatic light) are called pure spectral colors. The various color ranges indicated in the illustration are an approximation: The spectrum is continuous, with no clear boundaries between one color and the next.Bruno, Thomas J. and Svoronos, Paris D. N. (2005). CRC Handbook of Fundamental Spectroscopic Correlation Charts. CRC Press. {{ISBN|9781420037685}}{{clear}}

Color display spectrum

File:Spectrum.svg|thumb|upright=300.75|Approximation of spectral colors on a display results in somewhat distorted chromaticitychromaticityFile:Rendered Spectrum.png|thumb|left|upright=1.75|A rendering of the visible spectrum on a gray background produces non-spectral mixtures of pure spectrum with gray, which fit into the sRGBsRGBColor displays (e.g. computer monitors and televisions) cannot reproduce all colors discernible by a human eye. Colors outside the color gamut of the device, such as most spectral colors, can only be approximated. For color-accurate reproduction, a spectrum can be projected onto a uniform gray field. The resulting mixed colors can have all their R, G, B coordinates non-negative, and so can be reproduced without distortion. This accurately simulates looking at a spectrum on a gray background.WEB,weblink Reproducing Visible Spectra, RepairFAQ.org, 2011-02-09, {{clear}}

Spectroscopy

File:Atmospheric electromagnetic opacity.svg|thumb|left|upright=1.95|Earth's atmosphere partially or totally blocks some wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, but in visible light it is mostly transparent]]Spectroscopy is the study of objects based on the spectrum of color they emit, absorb or reflect. Spectroscopy is an important investigative tool in astronomy, where scientists use it to analyze the properties of distant objects. Typically, astronomical spectroscopy uses high-dispersion diffraction gratings to observe spectra at very high spectral resolutions. Helium was first detected by analysis of the spectrum of the sun. Chemical elements can be detected in astronomical objects by emission lines and absorption lines.The shifting of spectral lines can be used to measure the Doppler shift (red shift or blue shift) of distant objects.{{clear}}

See also

{{Wikisource|Littell's Living Age/Volume 145/Issue 1869/Definition of the Color Indigo|Definition of the Color Indigo}}{{Commons category|Visible spectrum}} {{clear}}

References

{{reflist|35em}}{{EMSpectrum}}{{Color vision}}{{Radiation}}{{Color topics}}

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