Have you heard anyone inquire about the colour of the sun? The answer could be yellow, if you happened to ask yourself! The answer could be orange, to those who explore NASA’s website. So, what’s actually the color of the sun? The answer is rather difficult than the question.
Although, many websites have similar reports based on proper research, NASA’s website contains a simple description regarding the topic. On 21st August 2017, NASA created a separate section for the solar eclipse that occurred on that day, where NASA scientist Louis Mayo gave a detailed explanation regarding the actual color of the sun.
But to understand the color of the sun, we must understand how our eyes work. We only see when light reflects on an object. These reflections do not occur for the sun or any light sources, because they come directly to our eyes. The color of any light source depends on the wavelength of the light.
Sun emits lights at various wavelengths at the same time. Hence, the color of these wavelengths can be green, blue and red. Our eyesight during light and darkness (dimly lit) depends on two types of cells. One cell is called the cone and the other, the rod. On the other hand, colours can’t determine ontehr colours. Therfore, we can’t see colour in low light, making everything look grey.
However, we have three types of cone cells: red, green and blue, meaning we are the only creatures that can determine these three colours. If all these three colours are emitted from the sun at once, we see the colour “white”. As all colour mixed together produces “white”.
Now the question is, why is the sun is yellow during sunrise? This actually is the result of the earth’s atmosphere. The Solar Center of Stanford University gives a good explanation of this. In some areas, the sun is on the horizon during sunset. Around this time, sunlight has to cover plenty of spaces. Hence, colours of smaller wavelengths (green, blue and purple) spreads across the atmosphere. Only colours of longer wavelengths (red, yellow and green) reaches our eyes.
Picture: The Sun from Space. (NASA) Due to absence of atmosphere in outer space, one can see the correct colour of the sun. Various pictures of the sun from outer space shows the colour of the sun to be white, like the above picture shows. However, if “sun” is searched in Google, the sun’s colour is show to be blue, grey, orange, purple and others. These are results of scientists taking pictures of the sun at various wavelengths. These pictures help on various researches on the sun.
Picture: 13 types of pictures have been used on researches on sun’s colour.(NASA) for example, certain wavelength hitting the sun reveals a sun-spot, while a certain sunspot reveals a certain colour; another different wavelength hitting the sun’s surface reveals solar storm. Hence, the actual colour of the sun can’t be determined.