Course: Science Subtest I
Lesson: Optics and Waves
Topic: How We See      Page 25 of 27  

Black absorbs all wavelengths.

An object that appears black absorbs all wavelengths of light and reflects none.

Okay, so how can something like a billiard ball be black AND shiny?

A black object can have a shiny surface. Most of the light will be absorbed, because of the black color, but some will be reflected specularly by the smooth surface.

Fun fact: Our eyes distinguish about 2 million different colors — taking into account different hues, at different levels of brightness, and at different levels of saturation. (Saturation is related to how much white is in a color — red is more saturated than pink.)


A black surface absorbs red, green, and blue light.