The world approximately us is full of impressive colors. Whether your favorite is red, blue, green, orange, or what in between, you can always find something that suits your taste. But did you understand that light plays a large role in the colors that we see?

In this video, watch us discover how transforming the color of a light can readjust what shade we think an object is. Examine it out, and also you can try it at home too.

You are watching: What happens when red light shines on a red object

Materials come CollectColor an altering light or vibrant LED Strip Colorful objectsA dark room, or ceiling fortCellophane, markers, and flashlights Build/Make your Own/Try that OutFind part color transforming lights, or do your own by color in cellophane v a marker and also placing it over the finish of a flashlight. Gather some colorful objects and turn off all of the lights in a room or build a blanket ft that you deserve to crawl into and have it it is in nice and dark. To work well, that will must be very dark, therefore you can want to try this out at night.Shine different color lights top top objects and also watch as the colors change. Try it out v every shade that friend can.What is the Science? 

If girlfriend have ever before seen white irradiate shine v a prism or looked in ~ a rainbow in the sky, you have actually observed that white light has all the colour of the rainbow.

When we look at things and check out its color, we are seeing all of the light that reflects off of the object. Red objects reflect red light, eco-friendly objects reflect environment-friendly light, and also so on. However what wake up to the rest of the colors the hit the object? They gain absorbed! If you have a red object, every the orange, yellow, green, blue, and also violet light gets absorbed into that object. If you have actually a black color object, almost all of the light gets took in by the object. 

Since we room talking about objects and how lock reflect light, that might aid to think of this objects as shade mirrors. A blue object acts prefer a “blue mirror.” We only see what is being reflected back to us, in this situation it’s blue! therefore what happens if friend shine only red irradiate onto a blue object? every one of that red light gets took in and the blue object will seem to it is in dark, almost black. If you currently shine a blue irradiate onto the blue object all the blue deserve to reflect off of the “blue mirror” and also you will watch the color again!

Ask your Young Scientists

As you are transforming the colors of irradiate on her objects, ask her scientist what they an alert about all the colors. What perform they watch if they emphasis on one object/color at a time? What happens as soon as you shine more than one shade light in ~ a time? What do you notification when climate light matches the color of the object. What carry out you an alert when the light doesn’t enhance the object’s color?

More come Explore

Try a fun game:

Grab some various colored markers or paints and shot to draw a photo while girlfriend only have actually one shade of light shining on her artwork and also tools. Does that look favor you thought it would when you adjust the light ago to normal?Grab a bunch of colorful pieces, favor Lego or candy. Deserve to you type them into piles by shade if friend only have red lights on? Is it simpler or harder through a various color?

We want to check out what you try at home. Share your production with us by tagging and using the #ScienceAtPlay on society media because that a chance to be featured. 


Nate Gagnon is a Public programs Educator in ~ the Connecticut scientific research Center. In his function he creates interesting educational programs and demonstrations the highlight science and STEM careers. You can find him in our galleries with fun activities that you and also your household can enjoy.

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Andrew Fotta is a STEM education at the Connecticut scientific research Center. That has currently holds a CT teaching certification for grades K-6, and has invested time in the classroom in practically all grades, and taught middle school science. In enhancement to to teach classes for the science Center, Andrew is also component of a team of educators currently creating new programs aligned v the new Next Generation scientific research Standards for grades PreK-9. Andrew is one avid photographer, who enjoys blending science and art in his work.