eli5 Why Black objects tend to absorb light, while white reflects most of it?

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eli5 Why Black objects tend to absorb light, while white reflects most of it?

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because our brains process the absence of light as black and the presence of all wavelengths detectable by our eyes as white light

Humans’ eyes detect light. When they receive almost no light, they see a color which we chose to name “black”. When they receive all of the frequencies of the lighting evenly, they see a color which we chose to name “white”.

Thats literally the definition of color. You see/perceive the colors (wavelengths) of light that an object reflects back to your eyes. A black object is a pigment or material that absorbed most light and reflected almost nothing back to you. A white object reflected the majority of photons that hit it into your eyes. A green plant reflects green light and absorbs all the other colors of light.

Depending on if you mean why they appear that way or why things that look a certain way do those things have different answers.

Black appears black due to a lack of light bouncing off of the object and into our eyes.

Black objects absorb light due to the characteristics of the atoms that make up the molecules of the material. Some elements have a tendency to accept energy from light at wavelengths that overlap with our vision, and some molecules with those atoms make that even more effective.

The world’s darkest substances, like column arranged carbon nanotubes, are darker than other black surfaces because they better eliminate the ability for light to bounce off them and into your eyes.

No no they are black because they absorb most light and white because they reflect most. Different materials react differently to electronic waves.

Light is electric energy suspended in air. Atoms are basically little electric energy things, so they interact with light. But the interaction is very specific, i.e. things absorb very specific colors. This is because the energy of the light has to be similarly sized to the energy storage of the atom. This is like harmonizing a song, if you play the right sound it works, otherwise it sounds horrible. It’s called a resonant frequency, where basically light is the frequency of the oscillating eclectic energy in air, and the atom has the ability to increase it’s electrical energy. So if the light hits the atom, it has to resonate at the same energy frequency. The light is absorbed when the atom resonates and sucks up the energy. Otherwise it reflects (not black, which is the absense of light, but some other color that changes) or has no interaction. White light is all colors. So something white reflect all light frequencies, and black absorbs them all. It’s because the atom is made of a center nuclear with positive charge that balances the electric charge and it’s quantized (i.e. quantum theory) meaning it has precise amount (i.e. precise colors/frequencies resonate)