I don’t want to alarm anyone, but magenta is not a real color. It’s totally not in the rainbow. Every other color can be made from a single wavelength of light except poor magenta. In reality, magenta is how we see a combination of violet and red. Remember that color wheel you learned about in art class? Lies! Color doesn’t exist in a circle; it’s a straight line with red on one end and violet on the other.
Not only that, but we can only see a sliver of the entire spectrum of light. There are colors before red and past violet that most of us can’t see. I say most of us because normally, we have red, blue and green cones (color sensors in our eyes) which let us see about 10 million different colors. But some women may have an extra kind of cone which increases the amount of color they can see! It’s kind of like color-blindness in reverse.
Sight is the only one of our senses that lets us experience things that are billions of light years removed from us. Without sight, we would never know about the stars. And without color, we may never know what stars are made of. You see, different molecules or elements absorb different parts of the spectrum. We can tell the composition of the stars by looking for gaps in the light that they produce. Those gaps tell us exactly what the star is made of.
We can also use color to tell us the age of the universe! Much like the siren of a fire truck will change pitch as it passes by, so does color. This is called the Doppler Effect. If something is moving away from us, the color moves towards red. If it’s moving towards us, it moves towards blue. It turns out that almost everything in the universe is moving away from us. By calculating how far away the stars and galaxies are and how fast they are moving, we can determine when they all would have been in the same spot. Bang! You have the birth of the universe about 13 billion years ago.
I’d like to see sound do that!