Heat and light are both different types of
energy. Light energy can be converted into heat
energy. A black object absorbs all wavelengths
of light and converts them into heat, so the
object gets warm. A white object reflects all
wavelengths of light, so the light is not
converted into heat and the temperature of the
object does not increase noticeably.
Different wavelengths (colors) of light have
different amounts of energy. Violet light has
more energy than red light. If we compare an
object that absorbs violet light with an object
that absorbs the same number of photons
(particles of light) of red light, then the
object that absorbs violet light will absorb
more heat than the object that absorbs red
The amount of heat absorbed is also affected
by how light or dark an object is. A dark object
of a given color will absorb more photons than a
light object of the same color, so it will
absorb more heat and get warmer.
Note about how the color of an object
appears: The color an object appears is the
complementary color to the color the object
absorbs. If an object absorbs yellow light, then
it will reflect all of the other colors of light
and it will look violet.
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