Sensitivity of Eye to the Colour Spectrum




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

Sensitivity of Eye to the Colour Spectrum

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

About the Diagram

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

  • In this context the term ‘sensitivity of the eye’ refers to the varying response of the rods and cones in the human eye to different wavelengths of light.
  • The diagram illustrates the varying response of the eye to wavelengths between approximately 380 and 700 nanometres (nm). These are the wavelengths of the visible colour spectrum.
  • The information is in the form of a graph. The vertical axis shows the variation in sensitivity in degrees on a scale between zero and 100%.
  • The horizontal axis arranges the scale of wavelengths to reflect the commonly used sequence of ROYGBV. In this arrangement red (700 nm) is at the origin of the two axes on the left and violet (380 nanometres) is on the right.
  • The diagram splits the spectrum into 150 different wavelengths from red to violet but there are 198 colours in total from infrared to ultraviolet which are both shown as black.
  • Breaks in the cyan line along the bottom of the curve identify the position of ROYGBV. Below the cyan line is another line of colours which shows the range of wavelengths associated with each each spectral colour.
  • To find out more about the way that the range of colours used in this diagram have been selected see (add link).

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.

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