Why is Sun Yellow?

Normally, when it’s not cloudy, the sun looks too bright to be held as perfectly yellow, however, in a mild cloudy situation, it ideally looks yellow. Surprisingly, the sun is not at all yellow; if viewed from above the atmospheric strata of the earth, it looks perfect white (bright / lucent). It is, actually, the atmospheric layer around the earth that transforms the color of the sun to yellowish bright by preventing / filtering out a number of rays, considered lethal for life on earth.

Sun Rise Why is Sun Yellow?

The lights emanating from the surface of the sun are not just one color. It is a conglomeration of a range of light spectra predominantly electromagnetic in nature. Following ranges of bands of light wave lengths can be expected to be there in the sun light:

  • Radio spectrum;
  • Infrared;
  • Visible Spectrum;
  • Ultraviolet;
  • X-rays.

A range of photons of different colors is emitted from the sun which leaves a combined effect of bluish white color (as seen from space). When these photons cross the atmospheric layers, a range of them is absorbed, still another is bounced back to different directions in space, a phenomenon known as ‘atmospheric scattering of light’. Only a very moderate degree of photon radiation is allowed to pass, thereby constituting yellowish image of the sun in our eyes.

It will be noticed that the yellow color is a moderate degree of illumination; had the sun been hotter than present, it would look more of a bluish sort and if it had been cooler than the present degree, it would look more like reddish hot. Before setting in the West, the sun starts looking dark yellowish and tends to transform into reddish yellow immediately before setting in. This may be because of increased factor of blue light’s atmospheric scattering.

Some people would say that the color of sun as sensed and interpreted by our eyes is merely because the sunlight reaches a peculiar kind of cell film in the retina of our eyes and consequently appears to be of yellow color, identified by brain with the image of the sun.

Color in our eyes is detected and identified by a specific kind of cells known as ‘photosensitive’ or ‘cone’ cells that a number of animals do not possess. So there is every possibility that they might be viewing an altogether different color, but this is not proven yet. However, they are known to have ‘black-white rods’ in retina. These ‘rods’ are believed to be quite sensitive toward light detection.

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