why is black and white not a color

Color is only something that exists in the mind of the perceiver. Explanation. Color is the reflection of particular portions of the light spectrum. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. The colors that can be seen in a pure rainbow. These reflections are picked up by the optic nerve and translated by the brain into the "colors" we all know. White is the reflection of ALL the colors. Black is the reflection of none. When one perceives black there is no perception at all. Example. If there is a picture of a flag, green stripes next black next to yellow, you see the green and the yellow but you do not see the black. It is nothingness. But since you see the yellow and green in contrast then the black appears to be there. To sum it up. White is NOT a color but an equal combination of ALL the colors of the visible light spectrum. Black is NOTHING but the comparative perception of the surroundings.


It can not be seen.
The stimulus for color hasn't disappeared at night. The problem is that there simply isn't enough light for us to perceive colors. I took this picture of Yosemite Falls at night (about 11:00PM) on an early spring evening with a nearly-full moon. I set my camera exposure time to about two minutes in order to capture enough light to make the image. You can see that it was taken at night by looking at the stars in the sky and seeing that they actually moved a little bit (well actually the earth rotated a little) during the long exposure time. This full-color night-time image shows that all the colors are still there under moonlight, but we just can't see them. The sky is blue, the water white, trees green and brown, rocks gray and brown, etc. When I was in the original location, I could only see a black and white version of the scene with my naked eyes.


That is because there was only enough light for my rods to function and not my cones. Why Can't I See Colors at Night? You can't see colors at night because our visual systems are not designed to see colors when there isn't very much light in a scene. We actually have two visual systems that work in parallel to help us survive in the world. When there is plenty of light, we use our cone photoreceptors. There are three types of cones roughly sensitive to red, green, and blue light and we can compare the images captured with these three systems to perceive the colors in the scene. We can also see fine detail with our cones. However, the ability to see colors and detail with our cone system means that the cones cannot be very sensitive to light. As the light levels decrease at night, we reach a point where our cones can no longer respond because there simply is not enough light for them to produce a response.


In this situation, our visual system automatically switches to a second set of photoreceptors known as rods. There is only one type of rod receptor, so that means we can only see in shades of gray when our rods are working and our cones are not. The rods also gang up together to capture light over relatively large areas. This helps them to be very sensitive to the small amounts of light available at night, but it means that they cannot possibly allow us to resolve fine details. Thus, it is our switch from the color-sensitive, but light-insensitive, cone system to the color-insensitive, but very light-sensitive, rod system that causes us to loose our color vision at night. Or as it was once written by the rock band, The Moody Blues: Red is gray and yellow, white And which is an illusion Explore the at this level. Explore the on this topic. Ever wonder. Updated: June 3, 2010

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