Activity 2: Seeing Like Your Eye

In the figure below a satellite is used to gather images of Earth's surface. This satellite, like your eye, is sensitive only to visible light. Although the Sun gives off many other types of light we will be concerned with only the visible light (including all the colors of the rainbow) given off by the Sun.

cartoon diagram of satellite gathering images of features on the the Earth's surface

A. Would the different objects all look the same to the satellite? What is different about the objects?




B. Describe the path that the light takes after it leaves the Sun.




C. What color will the satellite detect from the trees?






D. Which color(s) of light reach the trees from the Sun?


E. Which color(s) of light are sent from the trees to the satellite? Explain how you know.



F. Where do the remaining colors of light that were sent by the Sun go once they reach the trees? Explain your reasoning.



G. Explain why the roof of the house appears red to the satellite.



H. Would the satellite still detect the roof of the house to be red late at night, long after the Sun had set? Explain your reasoning.



Scientists use the word reflected to describe light that hits the surface of an object and then bounces off the object. They use the term absorbed to describe light that hits the surface of an object and then enters the object.

I. In the drawing above, label the light rays that are being reflected with the appropriate color of light.

J. To make the drawing above complete, what additional information would need to be added?



K. Use the terms reflected and absorbed to describe how the satellite detects the trees as being green.