Wavelength and Color
The human eyes are only sensitive to light which lies between a small region of the electromagnetic spectrum, illustrated on the right. This small region is known as visible light and has a wavelength range of 350-780 nm. The color ranges from violet through red, with violet having the shortest wavelength.
The visible spectrum does not contain all the colors that the human eye and brain can distinguish. Colors such as pink, brown, and magenta are absent from the visible spectrum as they are produced by a mixture of multiple wavelengths.
Colors that are produced by visible light are called pure spectral color. The table below indicates the approximate wavelength range for each color. Note that the visible spectrum is continuous, with no clear boundaries.
White light is a combination of all the colors of the visible spectrum, while black is the absence of all light.
Computer monitors mix red, green, and blue colors in order to display a large variety of colors. This is known as the RGB color model. However, the RGB color model is device dependent, which means different devices can display a given RGB value differently.
(Wavelength image from Universe by Freedman and Kaufmann.)
Using the slider, adjust the wavelength λ to see how that color is expressed in terms of RGB.
Based on an algorithm from Dan Bruton's Color Science Page.
See also: ColorTools
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