There are exactly 1.9180795e^28 colors

  • How many colors there are

No, loved ones, there isn’t such thing as an infinity of colors. In fact, there are exactly 1.9180795e+28 (or, for better readability, 1.9180795e^28 ) distinct colors, no more, no less.

That’s exactly 19,180,795,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 colors. Well, exactly – here – is used more like “roughly”, because of the the implications of the following wild thought I had.

Explanation:

  1. The wavelength of light ranges from 700 nm (7 * 10^-7) to 390 nm. This means that the available wavelength of light is 310 nano-meters.
  2. The Planck length, meaning the absolute minimum length in the universe, is 1.616199(97) * 10^-35m.
  3. So, in the available wavelength of 310nm, we have 1.9180795e^28 units of Planck length.
  4. Because the Planck length is the absolute minimum, we can’t have anything in between consecutive units. So, there are never – and can never be – subdivisions of it.
  5. This leads to the conclusion that there is a finite number of colors and this number is a multiple of Planck lengths.

Technically, we can consider each of them as a distinct color, with a distinctive wavelength, the same way, for different wavelengths, we consider different colors.

Of course, we have not – yet – devised such device that can perceive each and every single color there is and, of course, the regular human being can see only a fraction of these distinct colors (around one million), while the most color-blessed folk can see around 99 million (due to a condition called Tetrachromacy). Thus, how one perceives these colors is not a subject of this discussion.

Furthermore, there also are other factors that determine the perceived or calculated color. But, then again, they are based on a finite number of possible light wavelengths and are, thus, finite, however incomprehensible their number may be.

Finally, on a more personal note, I cannot name more than 16 of these distinct colors. So, it’s safe to assume that I don’t know any color.

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