Why aren't plants black? 🌿 | Summary and Q&A

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February 22, 2017
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Physics Girl
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Why aren't plants black? 🌿

TL;DR

The sun is actually white, emitting the most green light, which led to the evolution of plants being green to optimize energy absorption.

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Key Insights

  • 😎 The sun is actually white, but appears yellow in the sky due to the Earth's atmosphere.
  • 🙂 The sun emits the most green light, contrary to common belief.
  • 💚 Plants are green because chlorophyll, which absorbs green light for photosynthesis, is green.
  • 🙂 Reflecting some green light allows plants to absorb more overall light and prevents overheating.
  • ❓ Chlorophyll might be evolutionarily advantageous as it is easier for evolution to produce and converts sunlight to energy efficiently.
  • 😎 The color of the sun is a perception issue rather than a physics issue.
  • 💚 The evolution of plants being green might be a result of a complex process, and with different conditions, it could have taken a different color.

Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] What color do you think the sun is? The sun's white because it's a white dwarf star. So it would be all the colors. Fire reddish-orange. Orange-yellow because of its heat. Yellow because that's the way it looks up in the sky. What about above the atmosphere? What color do you think the sun would look? Probably not yellow any... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What color is the sun?

The sun is actually white, as it is a white dwarf star. However, it appears yellow in the sky due to the Earth's atmosphere.

Q: Which color of the rainbow does the sun emit the most?

Surprisingly, the sun emits the most green light. This is contrary to the belief that it emits orange or yellow light.

Q: Why are plants green?

Plants are green because chlorophyll, the molecule responsible for photosynthesis, is green. It evolved to absorb the most green light, which is the predominant color emitted by the sun.

Q: Why do plants reflect green light if they need it for energy absorption?

Plants reflect some green light to prevent overheating and to allow lower leaves to receive some of the scattered and reflected green light. This ensures that the entire plant benefits from energy absorption.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The sun's color is white, as it is a white dwarf star that emits all colors. The atmosphere makes it appear yellow.

  • The sun emits the most green light, contrary to popular belief that it emits orange or yellow light.

  • Plants are green to absorb the most green light, as chlorophyll, the molecule responsible for photosynthesis, is green.

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