This is only superficially trivial
s on the other hand are not solid ice but very complex crystals
. Therefore there are so many reflection
s and refraction
s going on in a pile of snowflakes that incident light is
scattered back in the end. So far, so good.
Now here comes the catch
is not white, but yellow.
Well, actually, it is white
but it gets yellow because of Rayleigh scattering
in the atmosphere
. See also "Why is the sky blue?
So why does the snow
not look yellowish?
By the way, Webster 1913
as "the color of pure snow", so we might be running in a circle here ;) In my opinion that's a bad definition because it does not mention what kind of light is shining on the snow.
But anyway. The point
is that our brain
makes it so!
It apparently compares the light going in with the
light going out. If it's the same color
, the object
is white. Therefore white paper
looks white to us
even under colored light - but when you take a photo,
it is definitely colored as well.
So why is the snow not at least yellow on photo
That as it turns out, is entirely due to the
used! It is designed so that "white" objects in
sunlight look white. This as also the reason
why one has to watch out when using a digital camera
because the CCD
in cheaper models often has issues
with the color balance
rendering the snow yellowish!
points out that the
blue of the sky
and the yellow of the sun might combine to white again. I cannot refute that. However, it is still true that snow can look yellowish on a bad photo, so apparently it does not quite add up!