The Color Of The Sun

Did you ever discuss the colour of the sun with your friends or any of the family members? What did they answer? The obvious answer to what colour is the sun is yellow. The fun fact about the colour of the sun is that it is white. The reason why it appears to be yellow to us is because of the presence of the earth’s atmosphere. When the light rays from the sun enter the earth’s atmosphere, they get scattered based on their wavelength. The colours such as red, yellow, and orange are the least scattered rays from the sun, and that’s why we see them. This is also the reason why the sun appears yellow.

How Does The Sun Get Its Colour?

We already know that the colour of the sun is white. White is a composition of all the visible frequencies of light. To understand the composition of the sunlight or to prove that the sunlight is a combination of all the visible frequencies of light, a small experiment with a prism can be conducted. 

According to the experiment, if we pass a ray of sunlight through the prism from one face, we get the sunlight broken down into its full spectrum and the colours include: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Red has the highest wavelength among all the colours while violet has the lowest wavelength. This is also the combination of colours that we see in a rainbow. The water particles in the atmosphere behave as a natural prism, splitting the sunlight into the beautiful spectrum of light.

How Does The Earth’s Atmosphere Contribute To Its Colour?

We learnt that the earth’s atmosphere is responsible for the yellow colour of the sun. colours such as blue, indigo, and violet get scattered throughout the atmosphere whereas red, yellow, and orange get less scattered throughout the atmosphere. The reason can be applied to the colour of the sky. It’s the layers of atmosphere which make the sky appear blue during the day and black at night. When the sun is closer to the earth’s horizon, the colour blue gets scattered away so much that the sun turns either completely red or orange. This could be noticed during the sunrise or during the sunsets.

What Is The Colour Of The Sun In Space?

The sun appears to be white in colour when it is viewed from space. This is because there is no atmosphere to scatter the light. Therefore, when astronomers view the sun in space, they see it white. Also, a technique known as spectroscopy is used by the astronomers to understand the colour of the sun or any star for that matter. When the spectrum of light is stretched out with the help of the spectroscopy, the different shades obtained explain different factors that are related to the star. For example, the darker the spectral lines, the more is the presence of the metals in that star. We know that most of the stars are having high volumes of hydrogen and helium in them. Also, the spectral lines could be used for determining the temperature of the star. If the lines are red, then the star is cool and if the lines are blue, then the star is hot. The coldest star known till date is Betegeus with the temperature of 3,500 Kelvin while the hottest star known till date is Rigel with the temperature 10,000 Kelvin. The temperature of the sun is 5800 Kelvin. 

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