Do You Know? The true color of the Sun is not YELLOW!

by Staff writer

What color do you think the Sun is?

It is a common misconception that the Sun is yellow, or orange or even red in color.

However, the Sun is essentially all colors mixed together, which appear to our eyes as WHITE.

This is easy to see in pictures taken from space.

Rainbows are light from the Sun, separated into its colors.

Each color in the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet) has a different wavelength.

Red is the longest, blue the shortest.


When we see the Sun at sunrise or sunset, when it is low in the sky, it may appear yellow, orange, or red.

But that is only because its short-wavelength colors (green, blue, violet) are scattered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, much like small waves are dispersed by big rocks along the shore.

Hence only the reds, yellows, and oranges get through the thick atmosphere to our eyes.

When the Sun is high in the sky, the shorter waves, primarily the blue, strike air molecues in the upper atmosphere and bounce around and scatter. Hence explaining why the sky looks blue.

Some people also think that enough blue light is scattered out in the Earth’s atmosphere to cause the Sun to appear slightly yellow.

It is hard for many people, even scientists, to admit that the Sun they are so used to living with is actually white. So sometimes they even color pictures of the Sun taken in visible or “white” light to look more like something we would expect.

Sometimes the display color of the Sun is culturally determined too.

If a kindergartener in the USA colors a picture of the Sun, they will usually make it yellow.

However, a kindergartener in Japan would normally color it red!

A nursery pupil in Nigeria will color the Sun yellow too.

But in spite of these “artistic licenses”, the Sun is really just WHITE in color!



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