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Name: Jeremy Lucas S.
Status: N/A
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
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

Dear Jeremy,

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 be visible.

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 . 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.

Martha Croll

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 "yellow-green".

Vince Calder

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