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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 50, Iss. 28 — Oct. 1, 2011
  • pp: F39–F49

Glitter and glints on water

David K. Lynch, David S. P. Dearborn, and James A. Lock  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 50, Issue 28, pp. F39-F49 (2011)

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We present new observations of glitter and glints using short and long time exposure photographs and high frame rate videos. Using the sun and moon as light sources to illuminate the ocean and laboratory water basins, we found that (1) most glitter takes place on capillary waves rather than on gravity waves, (2) certain aspects of glitter morphology depend on the presence or absence of thin clouds between the light source and the water, and (3) bent glitter paths are caused by asymmetric wave slope distributions We present computer simulations that are able to reproduce the observations and make predictions about the brightness, polarization, and morphology of glitter and glints. We demonstrate that the optical catastrophe represented by creation and annihilation of a glint can be understood using both ray optics and diffraction theory.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.4450) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Oceanic optics
(330.5000) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - patterns and recognition
(330.6790) Vision, color, and visual optics : Temporal discrimination
(080.1235) Geometric optics : Apparent images
(010.7295) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Visibility and imaging
(010.0280) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Remote sensing and sensors

Original Manuscript: May 10, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: July 8, 2011
Published: August 30, 2011

Virtual Issues
Vol. 6, Iss. 11 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

David K. Lynch, David S. P. Dearborn, and James A. Lock, "Glitter and glints on water," Appl. Opt. 50, F39-F49 (2011)

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