Is this dress black and blue or white and gold? Internet set on fire by mysteriously colored dress

This Whole Dress Debate Has Questioned Our Faith in Humanity
This Whole Dress Debate Has Questioned Our Faith in Humanity

Coke or Pepsi. Chevy or Ford. Mac or PC.

The classic debates were suddenly eclipsed Thursday when the Internet exploded with deliberation over the colors of a dress posted to Tumblr. Some saw a black and blue ensemble. Others saw a gold and white frock. Quickly, #Dressgate was born.

Nearly everyone was adamant that their version of the color scheme was the right one. Anyone who saw otherwise was crazy, lying or in on some joke.

The image that set off the huge debate had been posted online Wednesday afternoon by a user who went by the name "swiked" and had a relatively small backlog of posts that might have provided context into the nature of the image.

"[G]uys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can't agree and we are freaking the f*** out," the initial post about the dress read.

Another Tumblr user chimed in to note the stark divide in color perception: "My class just had a debate over this. Half sees black and blue, the other half sees gold and white. Someone please explain this."

Later Thursday, the user clarified, writing, "[I]n real life the dress was blue and black. But in that photo and that photo only ... some people see white and gold."

Alas, this wasn't a joke that celebrities were quick-witted enough to adlib -- there's a scientific explanation behind the debate:

"Light enters the eye through the lens-different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image ... Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at ... This image, though, hits some kind of perceptual boundary."

If you're interested in the full scientific explanation, which is pretty fascinating, here's one from WIRED.

Take a look at the picture in question (and some of the reactions it has inspired) below. What colors do you see? Tell us in the comments: