Facts about White Light




To find out more about the diagram above . . . . read on!

Facts about White Light

Look carefully at the diagram at the top of the page. Now check out the following questions (and answers)!

  1. Does the sun emit electromagnetic radiation?
  2. Does the visible spectrum contain all the wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum?
  3. Is light visible as it travels through deep space?
  4. Why do objects appear to be different colours to an observer?
  5. What is the range of wavelengths that makes up the visible spectrum measured in nanometres?

About the Diagram

Introducing the diagram! Read back and forward between the image at the top of the page and the explanation below!

This diagram introduces white light, the name given to light that contains all wavelength of the visible spectrum.

Work through the list of key facts on the diagram.

Remember that:

  • White light contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum.
  • White light contains all wavelengths of light that correspond with the colours of the rainbow.
  • White light does not include infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of light.

Now let’s look at that in detail:

  • White light is the name given to visible light that contains all wavelengths of the visible spectrum at equal intensities.
  • As light travels through a vacuum or a medium it is described as white light if it contains all the wavelengths of visible light.
  • As light travels through the air it is invisible to our eyes.
  • When we look around we see through the air because it is very transparent and light passes through it.
  • The term white light doesn’t mean light is white as it travels through the air.
  • One situation in which light becomes visible is when it reflects off the surface of an object.
  • When white light strikes a neutral coloured object and all wavelengths are reflected then it appears white to an observer.

Follow the blue links for definitions . . . . or check the summaries of key terms below!

Some Key Terms

Move to the next level! Check out the following terms.

Electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation is a type of energy more commonly simply called light. Detached from its source, it is transported by ...
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Electromagnetic spectrum

The electromagnetic spectrum includes electromagnetic waves with all possible wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from low energy radio waves through ...
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Reflection takes place when incoming light strikes the surface of a medium, obstructing some wavelengths which bounce back into the ...
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Refraction refers to the way that electromagnetic radiation (light) changes speed and direction as it travels across the interface between ...
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Visible spectrum

The visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum is called the visible spectrum. The visible spectrum is the range of wavelengths ...
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Wavelength is a measurement from any point on the path of a wave to the same point on its next ...
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