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Why is snow white?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Ice crystals are not transparent; in other words, they are not totally clear. They are actually translucent, which means that when light passes through ice, its path is slightly altered. Snow, of course, isn't just one ice crystal, it's many crystals packed together. When light passes through one snow crystal it changes direction and passes into a new crystal, which changes the light's direction yet again. This happens over and over again to all the different frequencies of light until they all reflect back out. Visible light is composed of many different frequencies, which make up the entire spectrum of colors. The color we see when we see all the frequencies of the visible spectrum combined in equal quantities is white.

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