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I learned something new and cool the other day.

As I'm sure most of you know, this is not actually blue:


The color is produced not by pigments in the wing, but by the microscopic structure of the wing, which reflects blue wavelengths very well and others very poorly. Thus, it appears blue to our eye. This is called Rayleigh scattering, the same principle behind the sky's apparent blue hue.

What you may not also know is that this isn't actually blue either:


What makes blue eyes blue? The same kind of microscopic structure! The fibers of the human iris are clear (that is, when there's no melanin in them). But their structure reflects blue light better than other wavelengths—usually. Sometimes, though, the structure of a person's iris is different. When these people end up with no melanin in their eyes, their eyes are gray.

Brown and black eyes are, of course, the result of a lot of melanin, and blue-refracting structure or not, irises with lots of melanin are going to look brown or black. But hazel and green eyes are the result of a small amount of melanin interacting with the structure of the iris itself. If the iris reflects blue well, then the eye will be green. If it doesn't, then it will be hazel.

Here's a link that talks about it: http://www.eyedoctorguide.com/Eye-Color/blue-eyes-eye-color.html

Fascinating stuff!

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