What Colour is an Orange in the Dark:

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Simple enough question and probably appears on face value quite mundane.
    But this question on another forum provided many hundreds of pages and many threads of debate.

    OK here were the main two arguments.
    [1] The colour of an Orange in the dark is still Orange......
    a property of the surface which makes it absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others.

    and this.....

    [2]The Orange in the dark has no colour...it is black.Black is the absence of colour.....The colour of any object in the first instant depends on the type and frequency of the EMR that falls upon it.....

    What do you think?
    Is an Orange still Orange in the dark?
    Or does it have no colour due to the absence of EMR falling upon its surface?
     
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  3. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    It just seems like one of those annoying semantic exercises like, if Helen Keller fell down in the woods would she make a sound.
     
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  5. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    The same colour as grass under red light.
     
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  7. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    would it not be, there's no light to absorb or reflect so no color whether it's black or orange. without light it could not be black also.
     
  8. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    That's a good point.

    You can't say it's absorbing light if there's no light to absorb in the first place.

    Then again, it's not reflecting any light either.

    So, I'd not call an orange in the dark "black", I'd call it "colourless".
     
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  9. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    My answer was that the Orange is of course black, as it has no EMR to reflect.
    And as Daecon has alluded to, if we had that same Orange under a Sun that shone predominantly in other wave lengths of the EMS, it would be a different colour.
    Black of course is the absence of colour, so in the dark, the Orange is black or has no colour.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2015
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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  11. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    It's orange.
    I turned the light on to check.

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  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Color is a phenomenon created by light. If there is no light, then there is no color. In fact, in true total darkness, there is nothing to see at all.
     
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Is said orange at rest or in a state of motion relative to an observer? An orange traveling fast enough will appear to be bluer. One receding will appear redder. In both cases, the orange is assumed to be warm enough to emit black body radiation at some temperature.

    If it is completely dark or obscured from view, you may not see it or recognize it as an orange.

    Didn't think of it that way? Black is white. Good is evil. These aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2015
  14. Secular Sanity Registered Senior Member

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  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    "Dark" is relative. As the light decreases, bright orange becomes darker orange. When there is no light there is no colour.
     
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    A reasonable point. The Orange in question was of course at rest, but again if we have no light and it is totally dark, the orange would still have no colour visible to the eye.
    I say that because what comes to mind is the part of the EMS that exists either side of the visible range such as infra red and ultra violet.
     
  17. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    It seems to me to be a simple matter of definition: (1) or (2).
     
  18. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    It's a bit like asking if an orange is still coloured orange if you put it in a cupboard and close the door.

    Aha, but the colour orange is always orange, even when the colour intensity is close to zero
     
  19. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    The physical material of the substance of the orange's surface will always absorb certain wavelengths of the visible light spectrum and reflect other wavelengths, giving it a colour somewhere inbetween the red and yellow section of the spectrum.

    But in order to ascertain that specific colour, one would need to expose it to visible light beforehand, to find out what the colour of the orange is.

    But what if the orange had always been in the dark? Of course we already know that oranges are orange, but suppose we had never been able to predetermine the colour - it wouldn't change the physical characteristic of the orange's surface, including the absorption/reflection interactions of the material with the visible part of the EM spectrum - yet we wouldn't have any way to determine the colour, due to the absence of light to determine it with.

    So, is it still orange?
     
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  20. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Since most oranges grow on trees, and most trees depend on LIGHT for photosynthesis to aid in sustaining it's life and to produce any fruit...

    Maybe you could clarify your query : "if the orange had always been in the dark?"
     
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  21. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    maybe you could just stop with your pathetic shenanigans ?
     
  22. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Reported.
     
  23. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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