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Thread: Why are our eyes not senstive to electromagnetic radiation?

  1. #1 Why are our eyes not senstive to electromagnetic radiation? 
    Forum Freshman IAlexN's Avatar
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    Our eyes are not sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths much shorter then 400nm, which lies in the ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Why is this the case?


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  3. #2 Re: Why are our eyes not senstive to electromagnetic radiati 
    Moderator Moderator Dishmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAlexN
    Our eyes are not sensitive to the electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths much shorter then 400nm, which lies in the ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

    Why is this the case?
    Hard to speculate about it. It seems that it did not provide any advantage during evolution - or at least our restricted capability of sight did not cause such a big disadvantage that it would have prevented our ancestors from surviving.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope MagiMaster's Avatar
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    Some birds and insects can see into the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. Some other animals can see into the infrared spectrum (though it's not with eyes in the normal sense).
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  5. #4  
    Forum Ph.D. Heinsbergrelatz's Avatar
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    Humans have what we call photopsin, and rhodopsin protein to be able to detect certain photon energy levels. Lower energy photon levels, simply cant activate those proteins in our eyes, which basically is like the infrared, and the EM spectrum.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagiMaster
    Some birds and insects can see into the ultraviolet part of the spectrum. Some other animals can see into the infrared spectrum (though it's not with eyes in the normal sense).
    Yeah, but not very far into the UV or IR. IR and UV covers a big range of wavelength, and they only see a small bit farther than we can into them. Visible light is in the energy range were electrons can get promoted to a higher electronic energy level within molecules. If you go into the UV, you start knocking electrons off of molecules. If you go into the IR, there's not enough energy for electronic transitions and you start causing vibrational excitation instead.
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  7. #6  
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    There's something called the chromatic aberration. A lens can only really focus one color at a time, and the other colors are a little out of focus. So the more colors you could see, the blurrier the image would become.
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