From time come time i come across web pages and also groups of people who gain irrate about indigo gift in the rainbow. Over there is also a facebook group referred to as “Get Indigo the end of the rainbow”. It to be Newton who said that the rainbow contains seven colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It has actually been suggested that, at the time, Newton was trying make some anology through the music scale and the octave (with its seven intervals) and hence was keen to determine seven colour in the rainbow or visible spectrum. Many contemporary commentators case that just six unique colours have the right to be it was observed in the rainbow.

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Interestingly, the facebook team referred to above would prefer to eject indigo native the spectrum on the basis that it is no a primary or second colour but rather a tertiary colour. The group shows the adhering to colour wheel:

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sasa says:
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swestland says:

If i was teaching a group of elementary school children around this i think I would certainly wait until there to be a good rainbow outside and then take them outside and look in ~ it and ask them what castle see. Perform they six colours or perform they view seven? allow them decide for themselves fairly than i charged some kind of dogma about what is supposed to it is in in the rainbow. This likewise teaches scientific method. Fairly than accept something together a ‘fact’ why no observe what is walk on and also draw your own conclusions.

I have actually never come throughout any reasonable explanation yet, as to why us see unique colours in the rainbow as soon as in reality the wavelength of irradiate varies continuously and also smoothly from brief wavelengths (bluish purple) to lengthy wavelengths (reddish purple). So why carry out we see unique colours and also why those specific 6 or 7 colours? ns am afraid over there is no basic answer come this.


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Marion says:
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James Humberg says:

How ridiculously condescendingly Politically exactly of you! and also just what happens if among your college student is colorblind, what then? ns am 65 and a retired Boeing Illustrator, and was teach ROY G. BIV…What the hell is wrong through that?

The problem with the spectrum, is that some artists and mind dead liberals want to rewrite background and bury Sir Isaac Newton! and since we room on the topic, who the hell are you to mitigate art into a feel great liberal agenda, and make sure that that your way or the highway!

Indigo used to be a irradiate blue violet in between blue in ultraviolet ~ above the clearly shows spectrum….Now the art civilization has combined black right into what to be a denim jean blue color, and have made it the brand-new BLACK! Yes there is an Indigo snake, but it isn’t the all at once blackness girlfriend see, yet the iridescent blue enjoy that got the name indigo! Sooooo….Go suck an egg, and let the ROY G BIV Acronym exist forever within the imaginations the the children! and also to think all I need to do to watch this famed man is to have actually a sunlit rainbow’s visit native this mythical but mysteriously colorful being!


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swestland says:

Thanks for the comment. Ns still think you room not quite getting the point though. Yes, the photoreceptors underpin our colour vision and also each wavelength of irradiate in the spectrum provides a unique ration of this cone responses. This allows us to distinguish one wavelength indigenous another. At best we deserve to distinguish differences of just 1 nm. In the direction of the long and short end of the spectrum, the course, our performance drops off and also we deserve to only distinguish transforms of around 5 nm. However, that still leaves around 200 various hues the we can see. The real concern I am asking is why we watch bands (why carry out we watch bands that red and also yellow, for example, with fairly sharp cut-offs?) fairly than a constant variation that hue. I don’t think this is straightforward to define from quantum catches of cone responses. Quantum records (and an especially Rushton’s principle of invariance native 1972) do describe why red, green and also blue lights add together to type cyan, magenta and also yellow which may be the point your space making. But that’s quite different to i m sorry colours we see in the spectrum.

Great comment about cyan.


Just a small comment top top this:

“It may be that Newton relenten the initial color of the break-up light, called cyan as blue and also blue as indigo to differentiate in between the two in that part of the spectrum. Ns not certain that ‘cyan’ would have actually been widely in usage at that time.”

Newton in ~ one phase actually provided the hatchet cyan (cyaneus) for the “blue” expression of his released works. In part II the the revised variation of his Cambridge lectures he very first describes a five-hue spectrum of red, yellow, green, blue (caeruleus) and also “purple or violet”, yet later he refers to more carefully divided spectra that eleven hues (Lecture 3) and also ten hues (Lecture 8) in which the location of caeruleus is take away by two “gradations”, cyan (cyaneus) and indigo (indicus). Indigo will its canonical position as a hue in between blue (caeruleus) and also violet in class 11, wherein Newton provides his (ostensible) factors for adding just it and orange come “the five more prominent” colours, and then walk on to introduce his musical correlation.


Hi Matteo,

I need to admit, I had actually not seen Goethe’s color wheel before.

I thought I would discover out what colours they ‘actually’ room according to my Paintshop agree programme.

I secluded the most representative Goethe’s color samples of each segment from the wheel ~ above ‘…Homodiscens’s…’ page and analysed it for hue (and saturation).

Although the document of the wheel has aged and possibly yellowed, it is amazing to watch the hue worths of every colour. In the weird case, I’ve blured the picture to ‘mix’ the underlying 2 colours that attempted to mix come portray the colour the observed. Few of the colours room a little bit wishywashy due to the fact that of the saturation, and also there is a different in brightness since of the means the various programmes portray colours but I think it was worth the effort.

Rather 보다 to ‘tell’ you what colour, I assumed I would upgrade the page and to enable you to watch each color under analysis: http://www.odyssey.ltd.uk/colour.htm

‘Homodiscens’ digital version looks a little odd in mine opinion, as expected, the cyan segment has actually been transcribed as ‘blue’

Goethe, interesting way senses Cyan and also Indigo….


No one has yet discussed culturally shame perception that color. Some cultures “see” color that contains a physical structure component. Across cultures human being “see” different arrays of color, world raised in certain cultures have actually been experimentally shown to have differing late of yes, really wavelength color. Not just a naming difference but noticeable perception difference regarding when 2 colors are the same or obviously no identical. Similar to the way people raised with a language deserve to not distinguish sounds the are easily distinguishable to speaker of a different language. Mind mediation and interpretation can’t be left out of a discussion of late of color. Don’t have tight recommendations at hand, but check anthropological and psychological research studies of color perception. Also a recent Nova or National geographic program documenting shade naming in which human being in some teams easily and accurately discern 5 shades of environment-friendly where other teams see only one.


This is every fascinating! I just stumbled across this whole conversation after searching online for solution as to why indigo seems to be so typically omitted in depictions the rainbows in children’s books. I had actually no idea the there was in reality a dispute over the matter!

The scientific research of how plenty of nanometers are in every color’s wavelength or just how the eye attributes is over my head, yet I would favor to throw a few things into the fray.

First off, in Joseph Chilton Pearce’s book, The biological of Transcendence, he renders the adhering to statement: “Twenty years back the median subject can detect 350 shades the a certain color. This particular day the number is 130.” that makes similar claims around the decline in the sensitivities of our various other senses, yet I want to cite his findings on color. Pearce lays the blame mostly on just how television screens have impacted our eyes, which appears logical to me.

See more: Riddle: What Has Two Eyes But Cant See ? Riddle: What Has Two Eyes But Can'T See

If Pearce’s claim is true, exactly how does this element into the debate? that does seem to be the case that different societies in the modern-day world think about, label and also actually perceive color differently, yet human eyes may have actually also readjusted (deteriorated?) over the years together well. Is it possible that Goethe, Newton, et al., simply had actually a different capacity for perceiving shade than we have actually today?

I have two various other random observations. The very first one comes around as a an outcome of the fact that i am a yoga teacher who is fascinated by the research of the subtle energy centers well-known as chakras. The mechanism of yoga which i learned teaches the there are 7 chakras in the human power system and also each one is linked with a shade from the spectrum of natural light, going appropriate in succession with good old ROY G BIV. The ajna chakra, or “Third Eye,” is connected with the shade indigo. (Not all equipment of yoga agree v this shade schematic.) ns don’t know as much around this, however there are various other systems of yogic chakra anatomy which say there are only 6 human being chakras. Ns can’t verify it, yet I would certainly bet money that such various other systems leave the end a connection with the shade indigo.

Lastly, i was doing some analysis recently around the mantis shrimp, a little crustacean i m sorry holds the distinction of being able to see the many colors of any animal. They have fascinating and complicated eyes! (Check out their Wikipedia listing in ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp.) ns wonder what these small critters would check out if they were looking at a rainbow!