Colors of Earth: Episode One— Introduction (02:56)
This segment orients viewers to Dr. Helen Czerski's journeys to discover what color is, how it works, and how it shaped the planet. In this video, Czerski will explore blue, gold, white, and red.
Color Spectrum (03:26)
The sun is not really the color yellow. Sir Isaac Newton discovered that light is comprised of different colors. Czerski reveals the color spectrum using a prism.
Big Bear Solar Observatory (03:54)
Astronomers use various filters to study the sun. Czerski watches features follow the magnetic field and create a flare; flares can create magnetic disturbances on Earth. Color is energy and information; astronomers use color to understand star composition.
Appearance of Color (01:48)
See a view of the sun from the International Space Station. Sunlight's interaction with Earth's atmosphere changes the color of the sun and makes the sky appear blue. Without light, there is no color.
Color Blue (04:17)
Blue is an unusual color in nature; remote areas that harbor the color reveal a clue about how Earth came into existence. Artist David Margolis works with rare colors including lapis lazuli; lapis was a status symbol during the Renaissance.
Lapis Lazuli (02:26)
Czerski pounds rock into powder for use in paintings. The combination of sulfur and other elements makes the lapis blue.
Lapis Formation (02:18)
The mountains of Southern California contain lapis lazuli. Prof. George Rossman explains how the rock formed with extreme heat and pressure.
Color Gold (02:26)
Czerski examines a bar of 99.99% pure gold. Gold atoms reflect red and yellow wavelengths. Gold's metallic qualities make it appear as if it generates light.
Dense, Heavy Metal (02:47)
Powerful forces fused atoms together to create gold and other heavy metals. See a pile of gold that weighs the same as Czerski. On early Earth, heavy metals sank into the core, but in some places, gold is close to the surface.
Gold Origin (02:16)
Steve Mojzsis reveals a meteorite fragment; meteorites contain all the elements that a part of Earth's composition. Many experts believe meteorites delivered gold to Earth's surface approximately 4 billion years ago.
Sorting Process (03:21)
Prospector Brent Shock pans for gold, mimicking planetary processes that concentrated areas of gold. The finer the gold, the farther it has traveled.
Color White (02:16)
Czerski explains that the white streaks in Death Valley reveal information about how the color works, why it is common, and the scale of Earth processes. She travels to Bad Water Basin.
Czerski walks along a vast expanse of white. She examines salt crystals under a microscope; they are transparent, not white. A pile of crystals bounces around light, making it appear white. Many things we see as white are comprised of small transparent components.
Salt Flats (03:42)
Gary Hayes discusses the process that created the flats in Death Valley. Water collects in Bad Water Basin and then evaporates; the salt flats continue to grow.
Color Red (03:50)
Czerski reviews components of the colors blue, gold, and white before going underground to learn about the color that represents one of Earth's biggest transitions. Red ochre lines the walls of Clearwell Caves.
Red Ochre (03:12)
Czerski replicates the process of red ochre creation using iron filings and salt water. Oxygen became part of Earth's atmosphere 3 billion years ago. Dr. Karina Obessa explains the arrival of cyanobacteria which created oxygen.
Transition of Earth (02:49)
Cyanobacteria produced oxygen as waste. Oxygen combined with dissolved iron in the ocean to form iron oxide. It accumulated into our atmosphere and reacted with other environmental elements, changing the colors on Earth. See a preview of the next episode.
Credits: Colors of Earth: Episode 1—Color, The Spectrum of Science (00:34)
Credits: Colors of Earth: Episode 1—Color, The Spectrum of Science
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