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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 37, Iss. 9 — Mar. 20, 1998
  • pp: 1441–1449

Comparison of Sun pillars with light pillars from nearby light sources

A. James Mallmann, Jeffrey L. Hock, and Robert G. Greenler  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 37, Issue 9, pp. 1441-1449 (1998)

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Using a Monte Carlo method, we simulate the appearance of light pillars produced by nearby light sources and compare their appearance with simulations of Sun pillars. Photographs of light pillars are also compared with the simulations. We expand the idea of light and Sun pillars by examining the reflected-light patterns from several different known distributions of airborne ice crystals. Polarization properties of light pillars from nearly horizontally oriented plate crystals are also simulated.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.0010) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric and oceanic optics
(010.2940) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Ice crystal phenomena

Original Manuscript: June 20, 1997
Revised Manuscript: October 6, 1997
Published: March 20, 1998

A. James Mallmann, Jeffrey L. Hock, and Robert G. Greenler, "Comparison of Sun pillars with light pillars from nearby light sources," Appl. Opt. 37, 1441-1449 (1998)

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  1. R. G. Greenler, M. Drinkwine, A. J. Mallmann, G. Blumenthal, “The origin of sun pillars,” Am. Sci. 60, 292–302 (1972).
  2. K. Sassen, “Light pillar climatology,” Weatherwise 33, 259–262 (1980). [CrossRef]
  3. K. Sassen, “Polarization and Brewster angle properties of light pillars,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 4, 570–580 (1987). [CrossRef]
  4. W. Tape, Atmospheric Halos (American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., 1994). [CrossRef]
  5. R. Greenler, Rainbows, Halos and Glories (Cambridge U. Press, New York, 1980).
  6. J. R. Mueller, R. G. Greenler, A. J. Mallmann, “Arcs of Lowitz,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1103–1106 (1979). [CrossRef]
  7. The treatment of Ref. 3 assumes that all the light reflected from the crystal will pass through the eye pupil–lens aperture, an assumption good in only the limit of a point source of light.
  8. This paradox is discussed in many astronomy texts; see, for example, M. Seeds , Foundations of Astronomy , 3rd ed. (Wadsworth, Belmont, Calif., 1992), pp. 398–399.

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