The white in snow


where does the white go when snow melts?

Thank you.

it gets diluted to the point of becoming clear.

Into the clouds, obviously.

Snow looks white for the same reason most powdered materials (such as salt and sugar) look white; light is reflecting off the individual crystals (see a more detailed description here). Note that ice itself is clear (unless there are air bubbles in it), so snow isn’t the color of ice; the same is true if you melt sugar crystals.

Did you know that no two people ever see the same rainbow? That’s because rainbows don’t exist as an object. They are the sum total of gazillions of individual diffractions that form a cone with your eye in the center. The drops may be at different distances but the total effect is put together by your individual brain to create the colors. Since no two eyes are ever in the same physical place, no two people can ever see the same rainbow.

Color is mere reflection of light. In some substances certain wavelengths are absorbed and others reflected. In some all wavelengths are absorbed resulting in blackness. In others all wavelengths are reflected resulting in whiteness. A liquid or gaseous molecule of water will reflect and absorb wavelengths differently than a solid molecule of water.

IOW, color isn’t a property: it’s a process.

This is all assuming that your question was serious. If not, then the white goes to the same place your lap goes when you stand up.

You mean no two people can ever see the same rainbow at the same time.

Clearly, it’s possible for me stand at point X and observe a rainbow, and then step aside so someone else can stand at point X and observe the same rainbow.

That is, if by “point X” we mean simply a point in physical space. If by “point X” we mean a point in space-time, that changes everything. :cool:

Wow, you guys are a literal-minded bunch - I was just kidding, obviously (well, obvious to me anyway…:wink:

Btw, wasn’t Exapno Mapcase Harpo Marx’s codename/alias when he visited Russia? I seem to remember that from ‘Harpo Speaks’. No kidding.

Yes - it’s based on what “Harpo Marx” looks like in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Harpo’s name in Russian – not really a codename or alias, but how it looks in Cyrillic – is Харпо Маркс, which looks a bit like “Exapno Mapcase”.

[Moderator Note]

Yes, I think it was obvious to everyone that you weren’t serious. However, this forum is reserved for serious questions, so people tend to answer even silly questions seriously. If you want to kid around, the place for that is our MPSIMS forum.

General Questions Moderator

Yes, it all comes back to me now. Great book by the way. Great book by a great man.

Oh, lighten up for chrissakes.

Of course we knew that. This is us being wiseasses - by answering a joke question with a serious answer.

[Moderator Note]

Commander Cool, you’re new here. Part of my job is to explain the rules to newbies. This is not a matter of “lightening up,” this is about abiding by the site rules that you agreed to when you registered. It’s OK to ask joking questions, as long as you do it in the right forum, which is MPSIMS. But to be clear, don’t ask joke questions in GQ again.

Since you’ve made it clear you were joking, I’m going to close this.

General Questions Moderator