They likely would look black to human eyes according to a paper presented by the University of St. Andrews' Jack O'Malley-James at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting in Wales.
(FOX Science)- 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.
Scientists surmise that the birds and bugs may see plants quite differently, with greater sensitivity to different shades of green and the ability to sense ultraviolet wavelengths as well.
O'Malley-James suggests that in different corners of our galaxy, plants could evolve to take advantage of different combinations of wavelengths, depending on the light coming from their parent sun ... or suns. The possibilities become particularly intriguing for a planet in a multiple-star system — like Tatooine, Luke Skywalker's fictional home planet in the "Star Wars" movie saga.