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Does colourless mean invisible?

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Pravinj Posted: 04:15 Feb15 2012 Post ID: 3094197
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I don't know how many of you'll have thought about this, but is a colourless substance invisible? and if it's not, then isn't the word "colourless" invalid, because it means the absence of colour, because though water is colourless, you can still technically see it, so if there is an absence of colour, should you be able to see? I personally don't think so, and I think the word colouless is invalid in some occasions, what do you guys think?


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Vicar Posted: 12:50 Feb15 2012 Post ID: 3094219
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Colorless means black. Black is the lack of all color. White is the presence of all colors.

Water is generally thought of as blue, because it captures the weaker blue light waves. The same is true with the sky.

Or something like that. I just woke up - I can't remember the science of colors all too well right now.
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CRAZY CHEATS Posted: 18:12 Feb15 2012 Post ID: 3094259
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Hmm, I'd say that black is itself a colour. It's an absence of light, but I wouldn't have said that it's a lack of colour.

The key to this question is definitions.
Colourless obviously means without colour. It doesn't have it's own shade.

Invisible means you can't see it.

The obvious example is a window.
It's colourless, it doesn't have it's own colour, you can see the colours of everything un-spoiled. However, you can still see a window. It's not invisible.
It's colourless, but not invisible.
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Pravinj Posted: 03:12 Feb16 2012 Post ID: 3094365
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I agree when you (above) say that black is in itself a colour, it just lacks any light. Maybe there should be a word for colourless things which are visible, I don't know, it's just a thought :)


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CRAZY CHEATS Posted: 07:42 Feb16 2012 Post ID: 3094404
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There is a word, "see through"
Well, indirectly. If it's colourless then you have to be able to see through it, so it's still applicable
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Pravinj Posted: 08:06 Feb16 2012 Post ID: 3094407
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Oh....XD

Thanks dude, you cleared that up for me :)


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the dawn of the gamers Posted: 10:24 Feb21 2012 Post ID: 3095728
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Vicar said:Colorless means black. Black is the lack of all color. White is the presence of all colors.

Water is generally thought of as blue, because it captures the weaker blue light waves. The same is true with the sky.

Or something like that. I just woke up - I can't remember the science of colors all too well right now.


You sir, are someone I like.

Black is not a color, and neither is white. People don't understand that and thus ask questions like the one in this thread.

So, technically, if something is colorless, then it is black. If there were no light, there would be no colors, if there were no colors, then everything would be black.
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dx_hbk Posted: 13:07 Feb21 2012 Post ID: 3095751
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The topic reminded me of this video.




Depends on how you define colours. Visible light that we can see using our eyes, is a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum (bewteen 400nm - 700nm if i remember correctly)

The same is true with the sky.

That is thanks to Rayleigh scattering. Colours which have short wavelength I.E Blue, Violet,etc are traped in the atmosphear and scattered.

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CRAZY CHEATS Posted: 17:38 Feb21 2012 Post ID: 3095808
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the dawn of the gamers said:
Vicar said:Colorless means black. Black is the lack of all color. White is the presence of all colors.

Water is generally thought of as blue, because it captures the weaker blue light waves. The same is true with the sky.

Or something like that. I just woke up - I can't remember the science of colors all too well right now.


You sir, are someone I like.

Black is not a color, and neither is white. People don't understand that and thus ask questions like the one in this thread.

So, technically, if something is colorless, then it is black. If there were no light, there would be no colors, if there were no colors, then everything would be black.


Tell me, how is it not a colour?
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the dawn of the gamers Posted: 08:30 Feb22 2012 Post ID: 3095893
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CRAZY CHEATS said:Tell me, how is it not a colour?



Light is what allows your eye to perceive colors. If there is an absence of light, then there is an absence of color. We call that "black". In other words, there is no wavelength that corresponds to the color "black".

However, if you're in an area that is so full of light that you can't see anything, that is called the presence of all colors, or "white".
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Pravinj Posted: 09:52 Feb22 2012 Post ID: 3095901
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the dawn of the gamers said:
CRAZY CHEATS said:Tell me, how is it not a colour?



Light is what allows your eye to perceive colors. If there is an absence of light, then there is an absence of color. We call that "black". In other words, there is no wavelength that corresponds to the color "black".


I disagree dawn, black in its self is a colour,

This is the definition of "black"

Adjective:
Of the very darkest color ; the opposite of white; colored like coal, due to the absence of or complete absorption of light.

Noun:
Black color or pigment.


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the dawn of the gamers Posted: 11:51 Feb22 2012 Post ID: 3095914
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I used [.line.] as it seems the quote function is screwing up in this thread.

I said:


Light is what allows your eye to perceive colors. If there is an absence of light, then there is an absence of color. We call that "black". In other words, there is no wavelength that corresponds to the color "black".



Ravinj said:


I disagree dawn, black in its self is a colour,

This is the definition of "black"

Adjective:
Of the very darkest color ; the opposite of white; colored like coal, due to the absence of or complete absorption of light.

Noun:
Black color or pigment.



Mine was an argument of physics.

In the common dictionary there are 14 main entries for the world "Black". One of the definitions is: total darkness; total absence of light. Which holds true to my previous argument.

We could sit here and argue that we can (in a sense) "see" black as a color, but that will never change the fact that since it is the absence of light, it also the absence of color.

I answered your question with fact rather than a philosophical opinion, though I could do both if you like.
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cheatos_42 Posted: 14:30 Feb25 2012 Post ID: 3096495
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I think black is not a colour, but it is only used as a colour at times as there is would be rather awkward for it not to be, and has only become a clour by human nature, even though it is an absence of such.

An example would be;
"What colour would you like your room painted?"
"I would like it painted Black"
"But black is not a colour"

or

"What colour would you like your room painted?"
"I don't want it to have a colour"
"Are you high?"

Basically what I'm saying as black is not a colour, but it is a description of the absence of such, or the description of complete darkness.

Things such as water or glass may not have colour, but we can see them due to the way in which they reflect light and distort the spectrum, and thus, are transparent, but by no means invisible.
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tbug2007 Posted: 21:51 Feb25 2012 Post ID: 3096626
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I'm fairly sure that pure water in a void would be colourless.

When we "see" pure water, we're not really seeing the water, but refractions of things in front of the water, behind the water, etc.

Or at least, it's a dumb theory.

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Pravinj Posted: 22:25 Feb25 2012 Post ID: 3096632
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Thanks guys, for all your opinions, appreciate it :)


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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the dawn of the gamers Posted: 10:01 Feb26 2012 Post ID: 3096731
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tbug2007 said:



I'm fairly sure that pure water in a void would be colourless.

When we "see" pure water, we're not really seeing the water, but refractions of things in front of the water, behind the water, etc.

Or at least, it's a dumb theory.



No. We see the light reflecting off of the water. Light reflects off of everything in specific ways, that's how we can see things.

In a void there would be no light (that's why space is black), so we would not be able to see water, or technically anything else. Unless you're talking about the void of space, because there is some light travelling across the interstellar gaps due to what we call "stars".
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Tendow Posted: 20:41 Sep01 2012 Post ID: 3145831
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In order to answer this question, you need to have a good understanding of how the eye and brain communicate and perceive color, a simple understanding of light, and good definitions of "colorless" and "invisible".

So first, I'll try to define invisible and colorless, and what the difference is. In normal, everyday talking, "colorless" means something that is left uncolored, however this is not what we are using it for, and in this context it means a state of absolutely no color. "Invisible" on the other hand, means something is incapable of being seen, or basically hidden.

Now, here is where we have to understand how the human eye works. I recommend the wikipedia page on trichomacy, which basically says that human eyes have 3 separate detectors for color. This means that there are 3 values that the brain has to work with (imagine that there are 3 wires, and each one controls a different color, for example one would tell you how much green there is, another how much blue, and another how much red).

If this seems a bit complex, it's because it is. But what this is telling us is that the eye can only really differentiate between 3 separate colors, and the brain mixes the signal to create a full color image. A black picture has no green, no red, and no blue in it, so this means none of the 3 types of cones are stimulated. A white image has 100% green red and blue in it, so all 3 channels are fully stimulated.

Not all light is "visible", meaning that the human eye is not simulated in any way by it. This means that for trichomats at least, a black signal is the same as an infrared signal.

So, does colorless mean invisible? Colorless and invisibility are two separate things in my mind, as something that is colorless doesn't stimulate our eyes, but it blocks out whatever is behind it, whereas something invisible would have to bend light around it in order for us not to see it.
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