From time to time i come across web pages and also groups of human being who obtain irrate around indigo being in the rainbow. Over there is also a on facebook group called “Get Indigo the end of the rainbow”. It to be Newton who said that the rainbow contains seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It has actually been argued that, at the time, Newton to be trying make part anology v the musical scale and also the octave (with its seven intervals) and hence was keen to determine seven colour in the rainbow or visible spectrum. Many modern commentators claim that just six distinct colours can be it was observed in the rainbow.

You are watching: Red orange, yellow, green blue indigo and violet

Interestingly, the facebook group referred to above would favor to eject indigo from the spectrum ~ above the basis that it is no a primary or an additional colour however rather a tertiary colour. The group shows the adhering to colour wheel:

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sasa says:
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swestland says:

If i was teaching a team of elementary school children around this ns think I would wait till there to be a good rainbow outside and also then take it them outside and look in ~ it and ask castle what lock see. Perform they six colours or execute they watch seven? allow them decide because that themselves rather than impose some type of dogma around what is supposed to be in the rainbow. This also teaches scientific method. Quite than expropriate something together a ‘fact’ why not observe what is going on and draw your very own conclusions.

I have never come throughout any reasonable explanation yet, regarding why us see unique colours in the rainbow as soon as in reality the wavelength of irradiate varies continuously and smoothly from brief wavelengths (bluish purple) to long wavelengths (reddish purple). So why execute we see unique colours and why those details 6 or 7 colours? ns am afraid there is no simple answer to this.


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Marion says:
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James Humberg says:

How ridiculously condescendingly Politically exactly of you! and also just what wake up if among your student is colorblind, what then? ns am 65 and also a retirement Boeing Illustrator, and also was taught ROY G. BIV…What the hell is wrong v that?

The difficulty with the spectrum, is that some artists and brain dead liberals want to rewrite background and bury Sir Isaac Newton! and since we room on that topic, that the hell are you to mitigate art right into a feel an excellent liberal agenda, and make certain that the your method or the highway!

Indigo supplied to be a light blue violet in between blue in ultraviolet ~ above the visible spectrum….Now the art human being has mixed black right into what was a denim jean blue color, and also have made that the brand-new BLACK! Yes there is one Indigo snake, but it isn’t the as whole blackness you see, yet the iridescent blue have fun that acquired the name indigo! Sooooo….Go suck one egg, and also let the ROY G BIV Acronym exist forever within the imaginations that the children! and to think every I need to do to watch this famous man is to have actually a sunlit rainbow’s visit from this mythical but mysteriously vivid being!


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swestland says:

Thanks for the comment. I still think you are not quite gaining the suggest though. Yes, the photoreceptors underpin ours colour vision and also each wavelength of light in the spectrum provides a distinct ration of these cone responses. This allows us to distinguish one wavelength from another. At finest we have the right to distinguish distinctions of simply 1 nm. Towards the long and also short ends of the spectrum, that course, our performance drops off and we deserve to only distinguish transforms of about 5 nm. However, that still leaves about 200 various hues that we can see. The real inquiry I am asking is why we see bands (why perform we view bands that red and yellow, because that example, with fairly sharp cut-offs?) quite than a consistent variation of hue. Ns don’t think this is simple to explain from quantum catches of cone responses. Quantum catches (and an especially Rushton’s rule of invariance from 1972) do describe why red, green and blue lights add together to type cyan, magenta and also yellow which may be the suggest your room making. However that’s quite various to i m sorry colours we see in the spectrum.

Great comment around cyan.


Just a tiny comment on this:

“It might be the Newton explicate the initial color of the break-up light, called cyan together blue and blue together indigo to differentiate in between the 2 in that component of the spectrum. I’m not sure that ‘cyan’ would have been widely in usage at that time.”

Newton in ~ one phase actually used the term cyan (cyaneus) for the “blue” term of his published works. In part II of the revised version of his Cambridge lectures he an initial describes a five-hue spectrum the red, yellow, green, blue (caeruleus) and also “purple or violet”, but later he describes more carefully divided spectra that eleven hues (Lecture 3) and also ten hues (Lecture 8) in which the location of caeruleus is take away by two “gradations”, cyan (cyaneus) and indigo (indicus). Indigo get its canonical position as a hue in between blue (caeruleus) and also violet in class 11, whereby Newton provides his (ostensible) factors for including just it and orange to “the five more prominent” colours, and also then goes on to present his music correlation.


Hi Matteo,

I need to admit, I had not seen Goethe’s colour wheel before.

I assumed I would uncover out what colours lock ‘actually’ room according to mine Paintshop pro programme.

I diverted the many representative Goethe’s colour samples of each segment indigenous the wheel on ‘…Homodiscens’s…’ page and analysed it for hue (and saturation).

Although the document of the wheel has aged and also possibly yellowed, it is amazing to check out the hue values of each colour. In the odd case, I’ve blured the picture to ‘mix’ the underlying two colours the attempted to mix to portray the colour the observed. Several of the colours space a little bit wishywashy since of the saturation, and there is a different in brightness due to the fact that of the method the various programmes portray colours yet I think it to be worth the effort.

Rather than to ‘tell’ girlfriend what colour, I thought I would upgrade the page and also to permit you to watch each color under analysis: http://www.odyssey.ltd.uk/colour.htm

‘Homodiscens’ digital variation looks a little odd in mine opinion, as expected, the cyan segment has actually been transcribed as ‘blue’

Goethe, interesting way senses Cyan and also Indigo….


No one has actually yet discussed culturally shaped perception the color. Some cultures “see” color that includes a physical structure component. Throughout cultures people “see” various arrays of color, human being raised in certain cultures have actually been experimentally displayed to have differing perception of yes, really wavelength color. Not simply a naming distinction but apparent perception difference regarding when 2 colors are similar or obviously not identical. Comparable to the way people raised with a language deserve to not identify sounds that are quickly distinguishable to speakers of a different language. Brain mediation and interpretation can’t be left out of a conversation of perception of color. Don’t have actually tight references at hand, however check anthropological and also psychological research studies of shade perception. Additionally a recent Nova or National geographical program documenting shade naming in which world in some groups easily and accurately discern five shades of eco-friendly where other teams see only one.


This is all fascinating! I just stumbled throughout this whole conversation after browsing online for solution as to why indigo appears to be so typically omitted in depictions that rainbows in children’s books. I had actually no idea that there was in reality a dispute over the matter!

The scientific research of how many nanometers room in every color’s wavelength or exactly how the eye attributes is over my head, yet I would like to litter a few things right into the fray.

First off, in Joseph Chilton Pearce’s book, The biology of Transcendence, he renders the following statement: “Twenty years back the mean subject could detect 350 shades of a particular color. Now the number is 130.” he makes similar claims about the decrease in the sensitivities that our other senses, but I wanted to point out his findings on color. Pearce lays the blame largely on just how television screens have impacted our eyes, which appears logical to me.

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If Pearce’s insurance claim is true, just how does this aspect into the debate? it does it seems to be ~ to it is in the instance that different societies in the modern-day world think about, label and also actually perceive color differently, yet human eye may have actually also changed (deteriorated?) end the years as well. Is it possible that Goethe, Newton, et al., simply had actually a various capacity for perceiving shade than we have actually today?

I have two other random observations. The very first one comes around as a result of the truth that ns am a yoga teacher that is fascinated by the study of the subtle energy centers recognized as chakras. The device of yoga which ns learned teaches that there space 7 chakras in the human power system and also each one is connected with a shade from the spectrum of herbal light, going ideal in sequence with good old ROY G BIV. The ajna chakra, or “Third Eye,” is associated with the shade indigo. (Not all solution of yoga agree with this color schematic.) i don’t know as much around this, yet there are various other systems that yogic chakra anatomy i beg your pardon say over there are just 6 human chakras. I can’t verify it, yet I would bet money the such various other systems leave the end a connection with the color indigo.

Lastly, ns was doing some reading recently around the mantis shrimp, a tiny crustacean which holds the distinction of gift able to view the most colors of any animal. They have actually fascinating and complex eyes! (Check out their Wikipedia listing at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp.) ns wonder what these small critters would check out if they to be looking in ~ a rainbow!