Glare points associated with the Airy caustics of once and twice internally reflected rays are visible in the scattering by sunlit icicles. Supporting color photographs include an image of the far-field scattering. Relevant rays are analogous to the Descartes rays of primary and secondary rainbows of drops; however, the caustic conditions for the icicle are predicted to be affected by tilt of the illumination relative to the axis of the icicle. A model for the caustic evolution, given for a circular dielectric cylinder, manifests a transition in which the Airy caustic (and associated glare points) merge in the meridional plane at a critical tilt. At this critical tilt the merged glare point is predicted to be very bright. The calculations use the Bravais effective refractive index and generalized ray tracing.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: June 16, 1997
Revised Manuscript: October 3, 1997
Published: March 20, 1998
Philip L. Marston, "Descartes glare points in scattering by icicles: color photographs and a tilted dielectric cylinder model of caustic and glare-point evolution," Appl. Opt. 37, 1551-1556 (1998)