When a dielectric circular cylinder is obliquely illuminated, the scattering angle associated with the Airy caustics of the cylinder’s primary rainbow depends on the tilt of the cylinder. We display records of the scattering pattern for a transparent poly(methyl methacrylate) fiber ranging from small values of tilt through values of tilt that are sufficiently large for the Airy caustics from both sides of the fiber to merge in a meridional plane containing the incident wave vector and the fiber’s axis. The records are compared directly with the evolution of the caustic projected onto the observation plane, and certain qualitative features of the global evolution of the caustics are confirmed. Although the observations used laser illumination, they are relevant to anticipating the scattering by sunlit transparent tilted cylinders.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 16, 1997
Revised Manuscript: September 8, 1997
Published: March 20, 1998
Catherine M. Mount, David B. Thiessen, and Philip L. Marston, "Scattering observations for tilted transparent fibers: evolution of Airy caustics with cylinder tilt and the caustic merging transition," Appl. Opt. 37, 1534-1539 (1998)