We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Visible Spectrum?

By Ken Black
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
All The Science is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All The Science, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The visible light spectrum is a range of light that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the colors we see. The spectrum is made up of light waves ranging from approximately 700 nanometers to 400 nanometers. Outside of this visible light spectrum, at the lower end of the frequencies, is infrared light. At the higher end, the invisible light is known as ultraviolet.

On the visible light spectrum itself, each color seen by the human eye represents a slightly different wavelength of light, and major divisions of those wavelengths can be seen as a rainbow. In physics, a wavelength is defined as the distance from a point along the wave to the next similar point, usually measured between crests or troughs. A wavelength at the lower end will be a shade of red. In the middle, the wavelengths will be represented as green or blue, and at the high end by a shade of violet.

White light results when all wavelengths of the visible spectrum are combined together. It is the most common form of visible light. Black, of course, is the absence of visible light. White light can be split and separated into various wavelengths, or the light can be absorbed and reflected back at only certain wavelengths.

The reflection of certain wavelengths along the visible spectrum is how colors are most commonly seen. For example, if a person is looking at a book with a red cover, they are actually seeing a reflection of red light waves being directed back to them. The other wavelengths on the visible spectrum are being absorbed into the book cover. Only the red, which is a lower frequency wavelength, is being returned to the viewer. If the book cover were black, it would mean no waves on the visible spectrum were being reflected.

While there are things such as infrared detectors and ultraviolet light that reveals images people can view, these do not truly enable humans to see beyond the visible spectrum. Rather, these tools simply provide a visible spectrum equivalent, using false color images. This helps individuals understand that there are other wavelengths of light in the universe that cannot be seen, and can also help explain things like weather patterns and astronomical observations. Such techniques are also used in forensic science to reveal organic material that otherwise could not be seen.

Though some forms of light fall outside the visible spectrum, it does not mean they do not have an impact on living organisms. For example, ultraviolet light is often responsible for causing sunburn and skin damage, but can also be helpful as well. Ultraviolet light is often used to treat seasonal affective disorder in humans, and is used in plant nurseries to promote growth of vegetation.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.