I read the following on Wikipedia regarding fluorescence,

Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation... The most striking examples of fluorescence occur when the absorbed radiation is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, and thus invisible to the human eye, and the emitted light is in the visible region.

Recalling my grade-school knowledge of color perception: The colors I perceive of an object that does not produce light are those that the object does not absorb.

Both those notions seem the same to me; however, I suspect that I've missed something.

Is there a difference between the way that the colors we perceive of most objects is produced and the way that flourescent color is produced?


1 Answer 1


Yes. Fluorescence absorbs a color (which we don't see) and emits it as another color (which we do see), so we see what wasn't absorbed plus what was emitted. Non-fluorescent absorbance just absorbs a color (which we don't see), so we just see what wasn't absorbed.

Most physical objects exhibit non-fluorescent absorbance.


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