Red light may not allow you to see as well as white, but it will allow you to see better than in the dark AND not wreck your night vision.
This is why it is commonly used by Astronomers to read charts at night. It allows you to check your charts and immediately go back to the telescope without any degraded night vision.
If you are driving around at night with your headlights off, and needed to spot something I could see its utility...
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The human eye is probably one of the most researched and studied part of our anatomy.
Yes, there are probably astronomers out there that are using red light to read their charts. Unfortunately, the low intensity red light for chart reading by astronomers is better, and avoids degrading natural night vision, is another myth.
As we all know, there hundreds of myths out there which are still active. Some vehicle manufacturers have/had red light instrument panels. I remember thinking how cool the red lit instrument panel looked. Back some years ago my Mercedes had amber colored “fog lights”. It was a perpetuated myth that amber light was better to see in fog… that has been consequently debunked … white light is better.
I believe you will find that today most aircraft instrument panels are illuminated with a green-blue light. If red light was better for the cockpit crew flying at night, why would they use green-blue?
There is, of course, the truth about myths. It is a myth or fact that water drains counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, and water drains clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere? Google the “Coriolis Effect” for a scientific explanation. Hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere turn counter clockwise, while hurricanes in the Southern Hemisphere turn clockwise.
Again, that's just my opinion.