Magenta isn't a real color?


Liz Elliott of says "magenta ain't a color."

[W]hat does the brain do when our eyes detect wavelengths from both ends of the light spectrum at once (i.e. red and violet light)? Generally speaking, it has two options for interpreting the input data:

a) Sum the input responses to produce a colour halfway between red and violet in the spectrum (which would in this case produce green – not a very representative colour of a red and violet mix)

b) Invent a new colour halfway between red and violet

Magenta is the evidence that the brain takes option b – it has apparently constructed a colour to bridge the gap between red and violet, because such a colour does not exist in the light spectrum. Magenta has no wavelength attributed to it, unlike all the other spectrum colours.

(Via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories)


    1. People keep pointing out brown, however, most of what we perceive to be brown are dingy shades of orange, red or yellowish-greens, hence, it is not the addition of a wavelength, but the general sparseness of one. People who think brown can only be a mixture of wavelengths confuse light with paint, in which you must mix colours to achieve brown.

  1. we can see about one octave of light, with red and violet at each end. So it is perfectly logical for the brain to bridge red and violet, just as it bridges 440 and 880 hz.

    The original link takes the perception of magenta as evidence for the existence of “qualia” – a hypothetical concept, utterly irrelevant and useless when discussing mind and perception.

  2. But, but…. what does this mean for the Deutsche Telekom? Did they Trademark a figment of our collective imagination?

  3. Our brain perceives almost 50x as many non-existent “colors” as it senses colors; mix anything from one end with anything from the other end to see what I mean.

  4. To get purple you must mix the two ends of the visual spectrum.
    Our color perception is far from linear. Colors taken across their gray scale range don’t appear to the eye to peak in brightness at the same point. That means that color video cameras and monitors provide a fairly crude representation of what the eye see.
    If you either want to go to sleep or incur a severe headache, have an expert talk about color space. I always think of the Monty Python character who said, “My brain hurts, my brain hurts.”

  5. Umm, most things we call colors are not pure frequencies. Brown, as was pointed out above, but also pink or lavender or any other “light” color is a mix of a number of different frequencies. I mean, heck, go look at a chart for lighting gels. They show what range of frequencies they let through in what proportion to create the colored light.

    Plus, in truth, we only have three color sensors in our eyes which are attuned to different ranges of frequencies in varying amounts. So it is not as though we directly perceive the frequency of color anyway. We only perceive the frequency of color by knowing what sensors are stimulated by certain frequencies in what amounts. This is how we fool the human brain into thinking that it perceives a mix of different colors when we are only giving it varying amounts of red, green, and blue.

  6. Surely there cannot strictly be any colour “bridging” red and violet since they are at opposite ENDS of the spectrum strip with their nearest neighbours being (respectively) infrared and ultraviolet.

    The bridge would have to be somehow round the back of the strip. Could the spectrum become a mobius strip? so that all the wavelengths from high to low somehow met somewhere else? Inframagentaultra. Cos halfway between violet and red is green.

    Also any fule kno that the spectrum is:
    Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

  7. Surely there cannot strictly be any colour “bridging” red and violet since they are at opposite ENDS of the spectrum strip with their nearest neighbours being (respectively) infrared and ultraviolet.

    The bridge would have to be somehow round the back of the strip. Could the spectrum become a mobius strip? so that all the wavelengths from high to low somehow met somewhere else? Inframagentaultra. Cos halfway between violet and red is green.

    Also any fule kno that the spectrum is:
    Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

  8. @ #4: While I wholeheartedly agree that this is not a good argument for qualia (or evidence for it), and tend to agree about the explanatory power of qualia in philosophy of perception/mind, I would be careful about saying that it’s “utterly irrelevant and useless.” I would say it’s both relevant and useful for certain views on perception. They aren’t my views, but I wouldn’t discount them outright.

    I will agree though, that the presentation of qualia on this webpage is much too brute – taking qualia for granted despite it’s rather unstable position in contemporary philosophy of perception. You have to wonder what motivates someone to so dogmatically assert the ontological status of qualia – to say not only that things appear a certain way, but that their appearance is a certain thing.

    Sorry, I’m a philo-nerd.

  9. Our eyes don’t see the spectrum. They have 3 types of cones, with peak sensitivity at different wavelengths. What we perceive as color is just our brain interpreting the output of those 3 types of cones. So not only is magenta a brain created color, so is everything else.

  10. These “scientists” have never heard of photoshop…

    @kirkjerk – magenta is about R:255 G:0 B:228

    Brown is dark anything between 344 and 37 degrees of hue. Yes, color is not linear, it’s circular. Maybe they need to update their model?

  11. This display of color is too linear. If each end of your spectrum were allowed to join together, agenta is right where violet and red meet.

  12. Of course magenta is a color. Since when did the definition of ‘color’ only mean monochromatic light?

    It’s kind of hard to argue that white isn’t a color, or brown. Or magenta. Or gray. Or teal. Or .. etc.

  13. “So can you represent Magenta RGB-wise?”


    the big issue with the article is that the color spectrum chart is a 1D representation. but people use a three dimensional value to see color (plus a brightness value).

    human eyes have three different receptors, each tuned to different frequencies: one peaking in yellow, one in green and one in violet – all overlapping more or less. so, we don’t pick a a single point on the ROYGBIV scale, we’re sampling from a volume of color.

  14. All these years children have been drawing with crayons and now they’re told that one of the colours they used is a total LIE? No wonder they don’t trust authority!

  15. Where the heck is white?

    Similarly we do not perceive musical intervals as the average of the two tones. C+G does not equal E. Of course, we can perceive many more wavelength-ranges of sound than we can of light. We can only perceive three broad and overlapping ranges of wavelength in light.

    P.S. Magenta is a great color. Goes well with yellow or blue. Dark magenta is tyrian purple, favourite color of tyrants because it goes well with gold bling-bling.

  16. Total nonsense. They are confusing color vs light frequencies. As stated already there are lots of colors that do not correspond to a pure light frequency. Our color perception is based on the mixture of red, blue and green light. Magenta is simply the mixture of red and blue. Nothing earth-shattering.

  17. I just love that special kind of tingly annoyance upon encountering someone who’s read a little bit about something making a spectacle of their limited understanding.

    For some better insights about color perception, check out the “see for yourself” section of the laboratory of Dale Purves:

  18. You know, there’s a special place in hell for people who don’t understand the difference between additive color and subtractive color.

    Man then goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed at the next zebra crossing.

  19. white is the sum of all colors. Magenta can’t exist in the shown chart because white isn’t shown. Notice lime green, baby blue, and just basic pink are also missing? OoooOOOooo, they must not exist, right?

  20. They came first for Pluto,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an astronomer.

    Then they came for magenta,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t an artist…

  21. Most of the comments on the article missed the point.

    But of course a bunch of random people on the internet must be smarter that a bunch of “scientists” doing so called “research” that actually imaging what’s going on in the mind.

    Way to point out all the obvious “common sense” flaws in the article you didn’t read. Keep fighting the good fight!

  22. Yes, Magenta isn’t on that strip. 2 things.
    First, Magenta is the inverse of Green (As has been noted that it’s R255, G0, B255). Cyan Magenta Yellow are the inverse of RGB.


    Second, Magenta was originally a dye. The CMYK color system dates back to dyes when those colors were easiest to produce in pure tones.

  23. When I’m bored I try to imagine a brand new colour, I never manage to come up with anything new but it keeps me occupied.

  24. @30 I’m not really sure what you’re talking about. The article, which is about human perception of color was written by someone whose scientific training is in the fields of astrophysics and space engineering. Many of the commenters here may be at least as qualified to speak on the human perception of color if not more qualified. The article begins by equating color and frequency and then gets into a description of how human perception of color isn’t made of just one frequency as if this were news. It also gets many of the specifics slightly wrong. I wouldn’t be bothered by all this except that the big attention grabbing headline is clearly false.

    @31 Magenta is a color and “ain’t” is a word. It’s been in use in the English language for over 200 years. Everyone knows how to spell it and what it means. That’s pretty well the definition of a word.

    It still amazes me that I meet people who say that “ain’t” isn’t a word but have no problem with silly words made up in the last few decades by business people like “proactive” or “incent”.

  25. there are three types of cells in the human eyes that detect three different bands of color.

    The bands are 400-500, 450-630, 500-700. Yes, they overlap. When light within the 400-450 range lands on the eye, the 400-500 band cells will tell you how much light. But it can’t tell you if it was 400 or 410 or 420 or 450 nm light that did it or a combination of frequencies that added up to some total. All it can tell you is a total.

    This means that there are a LOT of different combinations of light in different intensities across the spectrum that the human eye will perceive as the same thing.

    intensity 10@400 plus 10@410 plus 10@420 gives a total of intensity of 30 from the first type of cells in the eye (400-500). But if you are looking at a light that is emitting 15@405 and 15@425, you will perceive it to be the same colore because youre eye will report an intensity of 30 from the first type of cells.

    If you take a single color/intensity light source and look at it with your eyes, your eyes will report three totals to your brain and yoru brain will perceive those totals as a color.

    There are plenty of colors that you could come up with that don’t map to a single color/intensity light source but rather are the result of multiple colors mixed together.

    For example, whatever color you percieve when you look at a light source that emits 10@415 and 10@690, that percieved color cannot possibly be created by a single frequency light source because the two frequencies are triggering non overlapping parts of two different types of cells in the eye.

    So, “magenta” is hardly the only percieved color that doesn’t have a single fixed frequency on the spectrum.

  26. Certain wavelengths are only visible at certain speeds. Magenta is most easily discerned when moving upwind faster than the wind.

  27. Yeah, but like, what if the way I see colors is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from how other people see colors? Like what if MY magenta was YOUR green?

    I just blew everybody’s mind.

  28. Why does a coulor need a fixed spectral freqwuency?

    When i see green or yellow i dont shout out the length of the waves im perceiving now do i?

    When i mix red and blue paint i dont refer to it as “red and blue paint mix” i call it purple. Just like i call red and yellow “orange”.

    This guy is the kind of geek that titers on about how the rotational speed of the earth when added to “how fast the car is moving” means were breaking speed records. Ever have one of those jackasses tell you that a “peanut” isnt actually a nut?

    I don’t care what its taxonomy is – if you want to buy a peanut you look in the nut section of the grocery story.

    “magenta” may not exist as a frequency but it sure as hell is labeled inside my box of crayolas.

  29. It used to be fun to try to get a physics teacher and an art teacher in the same room, and ask, “what are the primary colours?”

  30. The magenta of printer’s ink is quite different from the magenta on your RGB monitor.

    And in fact there are thousands of colors in pigment that are not part of the visible spectrum. Crayola green or grass green for instance.

    (I don’t have a clue how the brain registers these colors… I’ll leave that to theorists.)

  31. Mixing colors of paint -or dye- is a different process than mixing colors of light. One is subtractive, the other, additive. That’s why when you mix red and green paint you get brown, but when you mix red and green light, you get yellow.

    Mixing ‘additive’ primary colors of red and blue yields the ‘subtractive’ primary, magenta. Red and green together make the ‘subtractive’ primary, yellow. While blue and green make the ‘subtractive’ primary, cyan.

  32. @39: what you’re talking about are metamers: pairs of different sensory inputs that produce identical sensations. Here’s a nice demonstration of how metamers work.

    The original article is really lame though. Ms. Elliott starts from a series of faulty assumptions (e.g. that every color we perceive ought to have an associated “spectrum color”, whatever that means) and uses the resulting confusion to illuminate absolutely nothing. Her analysis of what the brain does when perceiving color (“sum up” the wavelengths to calculate an average “spectrum color”) is so far from the truth that it’s silly. I hate this kind of pseudoscientific analysis, because it makes mysteries of completely understandable things.

  33. @48 – the kind that loathes the attempt to define everything we perceive by its scientific properties. Or i just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and im feeling like an argumentative jerk? Yeah probly that last one…

    Magenta may not show up on a frequency scale, but it is a perceived colour – to say it doesn’t exist because its only a concept in your head is frankly retarded.

    Strictly speaking constellations of stars are perceived objects only – the stars have no direct relationship to each other. We “create” a southern cross in our minds – in reality we are looking at a three dimensional object on a two dimensional plane.

    now, for “science” purposes we might study the individual stars, and we can regard the system as three dimensional. But when i look up into the sky i see Orion.

    You can talk about sensory inputs and how our body perceives sensations, but these are experiences – red is not red until the wavelength carrying it is perceived and correctly interpreted.

    Science doesn’t see colour. Colour is what we call it. Life is more than nerve impulses and numbers. Maybe its a lie – maybe we don’t exist at all! – if i cant investigate the true fabric of existence i might as well relax and enjoy it.

  34. Man, even before I read the responses, I sent out a telepathic message: “To me, my color nerds!” And you heeded the summons! Mua ha ha ha!

  35. Aah, the colour geekery.

    Am I the first one to point out violet isn’t – actually – on the spectrum either? Way to miss your own point.

  36. To make life more confusing when you mix paint the process is subtractive. With light it’s additive. In the Munsell scheme each color with its gray scale value is given a number.
    Someone mentioned sound. And naturally the ear is non linear too. In a nice clean scientific world each tone in the scale would be greater by the square root of two from the preceding one giving a doubling of frequency from octave to octave.
    The ear doesn’t like that. The frequency of each note is adjusted or tempered to sound right.

  37. From what it appears based on a lot of the comments here the article/summary wasn’t clear at all in conveying what is really interesting here.

    I’ll try to convey the gist of my current understanding of the topic. (was first introduced to the idea in the book Elemental Mind by Nick Herbert (awesome science writer)).

    Consider how we perceive sound compared to how we percieve light. Both are temporal fluctuations, i.e. wave phenomena, albiet within different mediums and at vastly different frequency scales. These differences have a big effect on how the mechanisms that receive the signals are built, (eye’s vs. ears).

    So imagine a sound or tone, continuously getting higher in pitch but then completely smoothly wrapping around and ending up at the lowest audible pitch. This is basically what is going on with magenta. It would be like having that circular piano in the Mos Eisley Cantina, where it wraps all the way around and every note is properly related to its neighbors, impossible in music without using something like Shepard tones.

    It really is incredibly weird when you wrap your head around it. It’s basically a strange dimensional construct that the brain puts together for us, and is interesting because it alludes to the structure of perception which tends to be rather ineffable and difficult to talk about in clear terms because of the supposed objective/subjective dichotomy.

  38. What an idiotic article. The home page of that site, btw, is quite a piece of work — an explosion of scraped photos and headlines about trite mind-expansion stuff.

    #56 — Interesting point. I think the underlying difference between sight and sound, here, is that we can distinguish multiple pitches being played simultaneously if they’re far enough apart in frequency: they have to be close enough to be considered a chord. That’s the only way we could make sense of polyphonic music, of course. But our eyes can’t interpret a single combination of light frequencies as other than a single color, no matter how far apart the frequencies are.

    In short, if we hear a tuba and a flute playing at the same time, we hear both a tuba and a flute. But if we see red and violet light superimposed, we can only see it as a single color, magenta.

  39. Another bump for the ‘reflected colors are subtractive, emitted colors are additive’. If magenta’s not a color, what the heck am I going to mix with yellow to print red?

    The idea that we’re filling in a ‘missing’ single frequency of light is, well… CRAZY.

  40. So for “sum” read “average? Because that’s why you are describing to get green.

    Magenta is an extra-spectral color in the sense that it does not correspond to a single wavelength, but that does not mean that it is not in the spectrum. It is a double gaussian distribution with the middle of the spectrum missing. It is what you see when the red and blue cones are excited but not the green.

    But of course in that sense NOTHING is a spectral color. Look at that giant swathe of wavelengths corresponding to red. It isn’t a single wavelength either. Neither are any of the other colors. The eye’s response curves are not that precise.

    Here are some other non-spectral colors: white, silver, any grayscale, black and anything formed by mixing a grayscale color with a spectral color (e.g. brown, mixing yellow and black).

    Clearly, being a color is not the same as being a spectral color.

  41. That chromaticity graph is exactly the right thing to prove that magenta is unique. Although it’s hard to tell from looking at it on a computer monitor, that funny horseshoe shape represents the full gamut of human vision — the reds, the greens, the blues, the browns, the lavenders, and everything (you just need to add the z axis to extend it in terms of brightness). Note that for every color you can get there by starting at white and moving a certain distance towards the “horseshoe” which is the spectrum of pure wavelengths — except for the magentas, which require you to move towards the funny straight line between red and purple which represents the only edge of the gamut that doesn’t lie on a pure wavelength. :)

  42. @ ANDREW

    What you say is true, except – and I only bring this up again because it’s the point at issue –

    — except for the magentas, which require you to move towards the funny straight line between red and purple which represents the only edge of the gamut that doesn’t lie on a pure wavelength. :)

    The bottom-left corner is blue. It’s all the purples that don’t have a wavelength.

    … Which is interesting, but doesn’t make it not a color. And when you think about how colour vision works, is something you might expect.

    Wittgenstein on colour is good if you want other fun things to think about. And there’s an Umberto Eco article somewhere with much weirdness regarding when one colour is declared different from another.

  43. Colors are a product of our biology, not of light. We do not have “color sensors” in our eyes. We have sensors that respond to various frequencies of light and represent that light with what we call colors. Yellow does not exist outside of the biological experience. The magenta phenomenon points out an interesting aspect of how humans assemble our perceptions but in the end all colors are creations of the viewer.

  44. @ Lyndon: Well, I disagree. Given the size of the graph and the fact that it’s on the computer monitor it’s hard to tell, but the “true violet” (which actually appears dark to us because our eyes are really lousy at detecting it at all) does exist on the horseshoe because you can see that color by looking at monochromatic light — it’s just that it’s crammed into a very small area of the graph, again because our eyes are so poor at detecting it that we can’t efficiently distinguish many shades of it. The reason it looks like the purples are all along the magenta line is because magenta+violet is somewhat easier to see than pure violet :)

    (And yes, violet does trigger the red and blue cones, while mostly leaving out the green ones — this is because the cones are weird and nonlinear, not because it’s not a pure hue. Magenta also triggers the red and blue, but in proportions that couldn’t result from any monochromatic source, only from separate red and blue wavelengths.)

  45. What I learned in my neurobiology class (which I took for my management elective)

    It’s actually on the spectrum. It’s the same as dark yellow.

    Cherry red
    Not on the spectrum. It’s an extra-spectral color that contains mainly long wavelengths but a little bit of short ones.

    Ultra violet
    Your short wave receptor picks this up without a problem, but your lens filters it out because its damaging. Those who’ve had laser surgery and sliced off a bit of the lens are slightly more receptive to it.

    Primary colors
    We approximate to 3 because most people have 3 color receptor cones. We pick the wavelengths of the primaries at the point where the cone receptors tend to respond most.

    It’s said that some artists have 4 (an extra short wave receptor).

    When mammals appeared, they tended to have only two receptors, going back a bit evolutionarily from the reptiles. It wasn’t until primates that mammals returned to 3. Birds are even more sensitive to color, possessing another type of cone cell in addition to the ‘standard’ 3.

  46. I’ve never believed in Indigo honestly.
    If you underpaint magenta and green (mixed make a nice blue grey) on a set – things will reflect colored light better. It gives more depth in diferent colors – maybe because it reflects the blue side and the red side. I’ve also noticed certain shades of blue light will make red pop – bright bright red.

  47. @greensteam #12: red and violet are AN OCTAVE apart. That´s why the bridging appears so “natural” – like sound, ya know.

  48. Ah, so that’s why in some graphic programs (I’m thinking on paint shop pro right now) the color pallete has a wheel for the hue, from red to red going through violet and magenta. I’ve always been shocked about that: ‘the visible spectrum is linear, but now I’m choosing colors circularly and it makes perfect sense’. It’s because the hues that “join the two sides of the spectrum” are brain-made.

  49. Have you ever seen a chromaticity diagram? Yes, there is an infinite range of colors that are represented by one wavelength; but there are also an infinite number of colors that can’t be.

    This was news 80 years ago.

  50. A couple of folks here have made references to music, and a few folks (like SNEJ) have come close to, IMHO, explaining “magenta”. For my part, I would like to add why I think the musical analogy is a good one:

    Colors, like musical notes, are described by a frequency – think “sine wave”. A perfect sine wave describing the note middle A is simply a sine wave of frequency 440 Hz. Another note is middle E, it’s frequency is 659.26 Hz.

    Now, here is the important part: “Math” says that any complicated waveform can be described by a combination of simple sine waves. So if I now play the musical dyad “A and E” which musicians will recognize as a 5th, mathematically I can “decompose” the A and E dyad into their component waveforms of 440 Hz and 659.26 Hz. A and E can by played by the same instrument, different instruments – whatever.

    Magenta is simply a combination of two colors of two different optical frequencies. I guess you could say it’s an optical dyad. So, just as our minds interpret the musical A-E dyad as a tone of unique character (a fifth), it also interprets color dyads in a same way…we experience magenta in a singular fashion even though “Magenta” does not exist as such in the visible color spectrum.

    In reality, magenta is the simultaneous arrival of a violet (7.14 * 10^14 Hz) and a red (4.28 * 10^14 Hz) photon at your eye, just as the A-E fifth is the simultaneous arrival of a 440 Hz and a 659.26 Hz soundwave at your ear.

    Hope someone finds that interesting. =/
    I do!

  51. Not bright enough to remember exactly how this works, nor diligent enough to research before posting, but (certain?) BOSE hifis work in a similar way with audio signals – no bass frequencies are actually produced, but the brain falsely interprets the receipt of those signals due to the emissions from the speakers. Makes it very clear.

    I love all this moiré effects, etc. Hard to find an interesting “illusion” site though – lots of rehash out there. This is proper interesting though.

    I love the legal implications for T-mobile – I’m (uninformedly) sure you can’t trademark something that doesn’t exist!

  52. @ #1

    Brown is just dark, possibly desaturated (= mixed with grey) orange or yellow.

    Plus, the test referred to “spectrum” colours. I don’t think anyone would consider brown to be on any spectrum/colourwheel/rainbow, huh?

    The main point of this post is interesting, and valid, but most of the responders here have missed the point/aren’t terribly well-informed.

    Colour science is HARD, BTW. Hey ho.

  53. The frequency thing only describes what it is that causes the eye to send a given set of signals up the optic nerve.

    Colour is how your brain interprets those signals. Black, white, red, magenta – doesn’t matter. They really are all colours.

  54. @54: For that matter, magenta toner isn’t all that standardized, although cyan and yellow seem to be. Many printer manufacturers use a magenta that’s much closer an RGB “magenta-ish” photo target than to magenta.

    I assume that’s to get better-looking photos, but it means you can’t do true CMYK colors on an allegedly CMYK printer! And there’s no way to compensate; true magenta is out-of-gamut, and so’s anything that needs it. I ran into this on a Lexmark and an Okidata, both $5000, allegedly proof-quality printers.

    Luckily, Xerox puts their DocuColor engine into a desktop model (Phaser 7750 FTW).

  55. as someone who’s job it was to mix and match paint colors for ten years i find this particularly interesting. we rarely used magenta in mixing paints. i always thought of it as a sweetener; it was much more effective at the end of mixing to push a particular mix one way or another. really, magenta is just a cool red. just as there are purple-y grays or warm blues. color perception is much more complicated than it’s presentation here. i’ve never heard of magenta presented as being anywhere between red and violet. not in anything i’ve read on spectography or psychology or in art school painting 101. seems like Goethe would have mentioned it at least in passing.

  56. Consider the following:
    1) We’re discussing the theory of color, which personally, like ROUSes, I don’t believe they exist, and;
    2) I am slightly tipsy.

    Ergo: This is all just a pigment of my fermentation!

    More seriously, photons don’t have color, just frequency. The brain makes color out of the frequencies detected. Like I said, it’s all just made-up. And the universe is taupe.

  57. As an oil painter, I have used magenta for years as a primary red. Just like 4-color printing you can paint a zillion color combinations with cyan, magenta and the right yellow. Instead of black, I use a white made from lead. To me primary colors are the “mother” colors. Red isn’t primary, it is magenta and yellow. Ultramarine isn’t primary, it is cyan and magenta. Yellow is the trickiest primary because it needs to be neutral, not warm or cool. There is no such pigment.

  58. It’s true that magenta does not represent a single wavelength of light. It is not a pure spectral color.

    However, I think what people are arguing here is that even pure spectral colors are a brain interpretation. The brain engineers our experience of color from information gathered from just three types of color light receptor, which respond to overlapping frequencies. So our experience of a pure spectral color is also a calculation and interpretation of a mixed signal.

    Electromagnetic radiation is a continuum from gamma-rays to visible light and radio waves. The visual sense, which allows us to apprehend a small band of frequencies, is not a direct laboratory readout of wavelengths but a poetic evolutionary kludge. In other words, if every creature with color vision were to go blind, while there still would be electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength in the neighborhood of 620 to 750 nm, there would no longer be any such thing as red.

  59. for all we know everything is colored however that’s just how we perceive it dog’s and cat’s see in black and white so they assume everything is black and white. if we could only see green we would assume everything is green, hell everything could be green it’s just the way we perceive thing.

  60. In a double rainbow the spectral pattern order of the extra bow is reversed. the red of one faces the red of the other (but with a changed blueish sky between . . . hmmm). so there is no blue side of one rainbow next to the red side of the other, so no magenta, unless it’s in the hmm zone.
    thoughts on colors –
    we can imagine blue and red in magenta paint. and blue and green in the turquoise of a rainbow and paint. and red and yellow in the orange of a rainbow and paint.
    but we can’t imagine blue and yellow in the green of a rainbow or paint. nor red and green in the yellow of a rainbow. nor red and green in brown paint. at least 3 interplays of outer and inner physics going on here. including that i might need to imagine more. si?
    i read that recent research on red and green composite images claims eyes/brain can adjust and train to visualize a completely new color. it sorta shimmers and ain’t brown, they say.

    now for the geometric form constants of internal imagery and the The Bouba – Kiki effect and synesthesia and linguistics . . oh wait, does that go here?

    more yellow at the following two locations –

    more red plus green ain’t necessarily brown at – now where the heck did i read that? something by Ramachandran maybe, in Nature or Natural Science or Discover or Scientific American etc.


  61. “The color magenta stimulates both the “red cones” and the “blue cones” in your retina. A combination of red light and blue light will do
    exactly the same thing. As a result, a combination of red and blue light produces the same effect as magenta light. We then say that red and blue produce magenta.”

    US Department of Energy
    Physics Department

    Light can have a single frequncey that corresponds to the color Magenta. It is your eyes that sense the Red and Blue components and your brain that reassembles the values to perceive the original colour – Magenta. Your article propagates an urban myth that extra-spectral colours exist. They do not.

  62. Magenta IS a real color even though it isn’t on our LINEAR light spectrum.

    Light is light. Red is no different than blue when it comes to light. But the angle at which you view that light makes a big difference.

    Red is 0 degrees. Orange is tilted 22.5 degrees from that. Yellow is an additional 22.5 degrees.
    Blue is 90 degrees from red which is why it trips our eyes out.

    Any 2 colors or wavelengths 90 degrees will do funny things REGARDLESS of how high or low you go up the spectrum.

    Saying “magenta aint a color” is like saying there’s is nothing in between 1 and 22.4 degrees.

    That’s like saying gold aint a color because it’s not apart of RGB or the others.
    It’s all about dimensional perspective.

    John Keely, Walter Russell, Dan Winter and now myself have come upon these correlations regarding the octaves of light, gravity, time, etc.

    E=mc^2 is Red
    E=mc^3 is Orange
    E=mc^5 is Yellow
    E=mc^8 is Green
    E=mc^13 is Blue
    E=mc^21 is Violet

    Follow Phi
    –Jason Verbelli

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