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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 42, Iss. 3 — Jan. 20, 2003
  • pp: 429–435

Simulating glories and cloudbows in color

Stanley D. Gedzelman  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 42, Issue 3, pp. 429-435 (2003)

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Glories and cloudbows are simulated in color by use of the Mie scattering theory of light upwelling from small-droplet clouds of finite optical thickness embedded in a Rayleigh scattering atmosphere. Glories are generally more distinct for clouds of droplets of as much as ∼10 μm in radius. As droplet radius increases, the glory shrinks and becomes less prominent, whereas the cloudbow becomes more distinct and eventually colorful. Cloudbows typically consist of a broad, almost white band with a slightly orange outer edge and a dark inner band. Multiple light and dark bands that are related to supernumerary rainbows first appear inside the cloudbow as droplet radius increases above ∼10 μm and gradually become more prominent when all droplets are the same size. Bright glories with multiple rings and high color purity are simulated when all droplets are the same size and every light beam is scattered just once. Color purity decreases and outer rings fade as the range of droplet sizes widens and when skylight, reflected light from the ground or background, and multiply scattered light from the cloud are included. Consequently, the brightest and most colorful glories and bows are seen when the observer is near a cloud or a rain swath with optical thickness of ∼0.25 that consists of uniform-sized drops and when a dark or shaded background lies a short distance behind the cloud.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1290) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric optics
(280.1310) Remote sensing and sensors : Atmospheric scattering
(290.4210) Scattering : Multiple scattering
(330.1690) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color

Original Manuscript: February 27, 2002
Revised Manuscript: May 7, 2002
Published: January 20, 2003

Stanley D. Gedzelman, "Simulating glories and cloudbows in color," Appl. Opt. 42, 429-435 (2003)

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