[Tig] color perception of lights

Rob Lingelbach rob
Tue Oct 16 18:55:29 BST 2001

I've always noticed that from an airplane, sources of light on 
the ground have a very distinct hue, for example streetlights in
the U.S. will be quite blue or quite amber (mercury vapor vs. 
sodium).  In Rio de Janeiro, the lights used to illuminate the 
beach are I believe fluorescent, from the air they are really

When I'm walking around on the ground and look at these same light 
sources their color is not as distinct.

Is this due to the fact that on the ground, the eye adapts to the
color shift because the light becomes environmental, but from the 
air, the lights are 'point' sources and are not themselves skewing 
color perception, or is there some additional cause?

Rob Lingelbach                         http://www.alegria.com 
System Administrator                     rob at film.calarts.edu
Computer Animation Lab                        rob at alegria.com
California Institute of the Arts              

"Heaven: where the bullshit is only on TV" --Frank Zappa

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