By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Janell from Crosby asks: “Why is snow white?”

First, it’s important to understand why things are different colors. The color of an object depends on how it interacts with light. When lights touches something, that thing will absorb or reflect the different wavelengths of the light.

For example, when light hits a red ball, the ball absorbs all of the colors, except red. Instead, that ball reflects the red wavelength of light out, so humans see the hat as red.

White, though, is a different story. White is not actually a color, but a sum of all the colors. And, that brings us to snow.

Snow is actually a collection of ice crystals that have a bunch of air in between them. When light hits those crystals, the beams bounce all over the place. White snow will not absorb any of those colors and they’re all reflected out.

And, remember, because white is all the colors, the snow looks white.


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