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Planets with Two Suns Could Have Black Vegetation

The more you know: According to research presented at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society, two-sunned (bisolar?) planets, should they be capable of supporting vegetation, would be likely to have black or grey plants instead of green greenery.

While this may sound like a needless layer of sci-fi whimsy, the optical reasoning they present seems sound enough: “To maximize energy absorption for photosynthesis, especially when the suns have vastly different colors or if at least one of the suns is dim, plants—or, more correctly, their extraterrestrial analogs—may use one or more types of light-absorbing pigments that absorb across a broad range of wavelengths, which would tend to make the plant appear black or gray.”

So: More suns means wavelengths means more light-absorbing pigments, and with fewer wavelengths to be bounced back at our retinae as a result, a blacker coloration would result. Not exactly the sort of research one can easily lab-test, but a fun thought-experiment either way.

(Science Mag via Slashdot. pic via Wallpaper DJ)

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