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Researchers suggest that vegetation on an alien planet like Tatooine in "Star Wars" might well look black or gray to human eyes. But they probably wouldn’t seem devoid of color to the eyes of the aliens — assuming they have eyes, that is.

The conjecture comes from a paper presented by the University of St. Andrews' Jack O'Malley-James at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Wales. O'Malley-James is working on a Ph.D. project to assess the potential for photosynthetic life in multiple-star systems with different combinations of sunlike stars and red dwarfs.

On Earth, the leaves of plants generally look green because two types of chlorophyll absorb the reddish and bluish wavelengths in the visible-light spectrum. Those red and blue wavelengths drive the photosynthetic process by which plants convert the sun's energy into chemical energy. In contrast, the green wavelengths are reflected into the RGB optical sensors known as our eyes.

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Category: Science