How The Sun Causes Colors To Fade

Have you noticed that objects left in the Sun begin to fade? Our Sun is a powerful source of ultraviolet rays. When these rays hit an object, they cause a chemical reaction that results in the color changing or fading. Let's learn about how it happens and a simple Sun painting activity you can try at home!


Sun Painting Activity

Sun Painting is a fun way to create designs on paper from the sun! Gather some construction paper and objects like rocks, puzzle pieces or toys. These objects will be what you use to create your design.


Find a spot outside your home that is nice and sunny all day long. Lay out your construction paper and arrange your objects in a design you would like. Check back in a couple of hours and look under your objects. Do you notice the construction paper is darker under your objects? Place your object back in the same spot and come back at the very end of the day. What do you notice when you remove all the objects from the paper?


The infrared light or heat from the Sun causes the paper to fade. The objects that cover the paper protect it from the sunlight leaving a print of whatever was left on top.


The Science Behind Color Fading

When we see color, we see chromophores which are pigmented molecules. When sunlight hits these chromophores, it causes the structure of that molecule to change which appears as a faded color. You might also notice that fabrics become frailer or begin to degrade. What are some objects around your house that appear to have been faded by the Sun?


Fun Facts About The Sun

  • The temperature of the Sun is over 10,000 degrees!

  • The sun is over 4.5 billion years old.

  • Almost everything can be damaged from long-term sun exposure, with the exception of metals! Objects that are red degrade much faster compared to other colors.

Try out the Sun painting activity and tag us on Instagram with your final product! We'd love to see your creation!


Want to learn more about the impact of our sun? In our July STEM Kit, we're Bringing The Heat with 5 hands-on activities, including Sun Printing and creating a solar oven!


GIGIL STEM Subscription Boxes bring STEM Education to your doorstep, with 5 activities each month and all the supplies you need to complete them! Just open up your STEM Kit and go (easy)! We are also Mom's Choice Award and Parents' Picks winners!


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