Do you still remember the phrase “as white as snow” during your fifth grade lesson on simile? Well, give the credit to your language teacher for that. But have you ever asked your science teacher why the snow is white? Why are there no other color alternatives for snow? If you have not, don’t bother asking him.
Often, we associate the snow with ice. Such association is absolutely on track because snow is made up of accumulated ice crystals. But we will not delve deeper into the anatomy of snow. However, “ice crystals are clear while the snow is white” as an observer laments. We see it with our naked eyes too. Ironically,there are certain mechanisms in the colors that we see beyond what is seen by the eyes such as the absence of light makes everything dark. Without light, the world is nothing but a monotone of darkness as how the eyes perceive it. It becomes a boring world with a black motif.
Basically, we see colors of objects because of light. When light strikes an object, the object reflects certain wavelengths of light and absorbs others. The reflected wavelengths of light give objects their inherent color as sensed by the eyes. The same mechanism applies to snow. But of course, you are still intrigued by its white color.
Definitely, the same mechanisms- the spectrum thing, the reflection and absorption- govern. However, it is not the usual absorption and reflection in the case of snow because snow by nature is translucent. When an object is translucent, it does not easily allow light to pass through it. (Remember your science class.) The light that passes through ice crystals which form the composition of snow changes directions with no single definite wavelength of light gets absorbed or reflected. The reflection and absorption of light does not easily take place without light having to shoot in different directions. All these reflecting and absorbing of light result to a neutral ground, which in effect, makes the color of snow white.
There is no doubt that snow is white. Certain mechanisms on how we see inherent colors of objects are the same mechanisms that govern on how we see the color of snow. However, the property of ice crystals of being translucent give the snow color a twist. The reason why the phrase “as white as snow” is coined.