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What are green orange and violet?

What are green orange and violet?

Green, orange, and violet are colors that exist on the visible spectrum of light. Each color has its own unique wavelength and frequency that defines it. Understanding the science behind how we perceive color can help explain why certain colors look the way they do to our eyes.

What is color?

Color is the visual perception of different wavelengths of light that are reflected off or emitted from objects around us. The color we see depends on the spectrum of light that shines on an object and how the object’s surface absorbs and reflects that spectrum back to our eyes.

The visible spectrum of light that humans can see ranges from wavelengths of about 380 nanometers (violet) to about 740 nanometers (red). Within this range, our eyes detect different colors from the mixing of different wavelengths. Primary colors are red, green, and blue – these colors can be combined to create all other colors.

How do we see color?

The human eye contains two types of light receptors – rods and cones. Rods are sensitive to brightness and motion, while cones are sensitive to color. There are three types of cones, each containing pigments that are sensitive to different wavelengths of light:

  • S-cones (short wavelength) detect blue light
  • M-cones (medium wavelength) detect green light
  • L-cones (long wavelength) detect red light

When light enters our eyes, it stimulates the cones. The combinations of cones stimulated and their intensity determines what color we perceive. For example, more L-cone stimulation produces red, more M-cone stimulation produces green, and more S-cone stimulation produces blue.

Properties of green light

Green sits in the middle of the visible color spectrum, between blue and yellow. It has a wavelength range of about 520-565 nanometers. Green light stimulates the M-cones in our eyes more than the L and S cones.

Green often symbolizes nature, renewal, and the environment. Its soothing effect makes it popular in interior design. scientific studies have shown that green can improve reading ability and creativity. Some key facts about green light:

  • Wavelength range: 520-565 nm
  • Frequency range: ~5.40-5.75×1014 Hz
  • Produced by a mixture of yellow and blue light
  • Absorbed least by plants, reflecting green frequencies
  • Additive primary color in RGB color model

Properties of orange light

Orange sits between red and yellow on the color spectrum. It has a wavelength range of about 590-620 nanometers. Orange light stimulates the L and M cones in our eyes almost equally, with slightly more stimulation of the L cones.

Orange is often associated with warmth, enthusiasm, creativity, and anti-depressant qualities. It is considered an energetic color. Some key facts about orange light:

  • Wavelength range: 590-620 nm
  • Frequency range: ~4.84-5.08×1014 Hz
  • Non-spectral color, created by mixing wavelengths
  • Strongly absorbed by carrots, producing orange color
  • Additive secondary color in RGB model

Properties of violet light

Violet has the shortest wavelength range within the visible spectrum, of about 380-450 nanometers. It stimulates the S-cones in our eyes the most strongly of the three cone types. The sensitivity of the S-cones overlaps with the L-cones in the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum, which allows our eyes to distinguish violet from blue.

Violet light is associated with spirituality, creativity, extravagance, and wisdom. Here are some key facts about violet light:

  • Wavelength range: 380-450 nm
  • Frequency range: ~6.68-7.89×1014 Hz
  • Non-spectral color, mixes blue and red wavelengths
  • Additive primary color in RGB color model
  • High energy, shortest visible wavelength

Comparing green, orange and violet light

Green, orange, and violet light differ in their wavelength, frequency, and cone stimulation properties. This table summarizes the key differences:

Color Wavelength Range Frequency Range Cone Stimulation
Green 520-565 nm 5.40-5.75×1014 Hz M-cones (medium wavelength)
Orange 590-620 nm 4.84-5.08×1014 Hz L and M cones (long and medium)
Violet 380-450 nm 6.68-7.89×1014 Hz S-cones (short wavelength)

As we can see, violet has the shortest wavelength range within the visible spectrum, while orange has the longest wavelength range of these three colors. Green sits in the middle with wavelengths between violet and orange.

Violet has the highest frequencies since wavelength and frequency have an inverse relationship. Orange, with the longest wavelengths, has the lowest frequencies of these three.

The cone stimulation also varies, with green strongly stimulating M-cones, orange stimulating L and M cones, and violet strongly stimulating S-cones.

How colors mix and match

When visible wavelengths of light mix additively, they produce other colors. This additive mixing of colors is the basis of the RGB color model used in TVs and computer displays. The three primary additive colors are red, green, and blue.

Mixing green and red light produces yellow. Mixing green and blue makes cyan. Adding red and blue makes magenta. Combining all three additive primaries of red, green, and blue light produces white.

The complementary color of green is magenta. This means green and magenta cancel each other to produce white light. Other key color mixtures involving green, orange and violet are:

  • Green and orange mix to make brown
  • Orange and violet mix to make red
  • Violet and green mix to make blue

When paint pigments or dyes mix in a subtractive way, the opposite primary colors are cyan, magenta and yellow. Mixing all three subtractive primaries produces black.

How our eyes perceive color

Our eyes and visual cortex in our brain work together to interpret the light spectrum signals as color. First, light enters the eye and stimulates the rods and cones on the retina. The cones detect different wavelengths and send signals to retinal ganglion cells.

These cells integrate and process the signals into information about color opponency – comparing red vs green, blue vs yellow, and light vs dark. Axons from the ganglion cells make up the optic nerve that carries color signals to the visual cortex in the brain.

Here, additional processing and interpretation occurs to determine the colors we perceive. Factors like brightness, objects around, and mixed wavelengths influence how the brain constructs the colors we see.

Color perception can also be subjective between different people. For example, color blindness causes an inability to distinguish certain colors. Some women have an extra type of cone cell, allowing them to see millions more colors.

Uses and applications

Understanding the science behind green, orange, violet, and other colors on the visible spectrum enables many practical uses and applications.

In displays, combining red, green and blue (RGB) light allows screens to produce a wide range of colors. Camera sensors also use RGB filters to capture color images. Mixing paints, dyes and other pigments creates colors by absorbing and reflecting specific wavelengths.

LED lighting uses narrow-band emitters to produce efficient colored light. Lasers emit specific laser wavelengths to create monochromatic colored beams. Various industries use color science for quality control, measurement, and detection applications.

Our perception and psychological responses to different colors also drive their use in design, architecture, advertising, and more. Color theory principles help artists and designers combine colors harmoniously.


In summary, green, orange and violet are distinct colors with their own wavelength ranges on the visible light spectrum. Green has wavelengths of 520-565 nm, orange has 590-620 nm, and violet has 380-450 nm.

The cone cells in our eyes detect these different wavelengths, with green stimulating M-cones, orange stimulating L and M cones, and violet stimulating S-cones. Mixing light of different colors produces other hues, while pigments mix subtractively.

Understanding the science of color and light helps explain phenomena like rainbows, color shifts, and glows. It also enables many useful innovations and technologies for generating, manipulating, and detecting colors.

So in the end, green, orange and violet represent more than just different colors – they demonstrate the intricate mechanisms and processes by which we are able to visually experience the wonder, beauty, and richness of the visible world.