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Applied Optics

Applied Optics

APPLICATIONS-CENTERED RESEARCH IN OPTICS

  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 50, Iss. 28 — Oct. 1, 2011
  • pp: F152–F161

Visibility of natural tertiary rainbows

Raymond L. Lee, Jr. and Philip Laven  »View Author Affiliations


Applied Optics, Vol. 50, Issue 28, pp. F152-F161 (2011)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/AO.50.00F152


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Abstract

Naturally occurring tertiary rainbows are extraordinarily rare and only a handful of reliable sightings and photographs have been published. Indeed, tertiaries are sometimes assumed to be inherently in visible because of sun glare and strong forward scattering by raindrops. To analyze the natural tertiary’s visibility, we use Lorenz–Mie theory, the Debye series, and a modified geometrical optics model (including both interference and nonspherical drops) to calculate the tertiary’s (1) chromaticity gamuts, (2) luminance contrasts, and (3) color contrasts as seen against dark cloud backgrounds. Results from each model show that natural tertiaries are just visible for some unusual combinations of lighting conditions and raindrop size distributions.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1290) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric optics
(010.1310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric scattering
(010.3920) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Meteorology
(290.4020) Scattering : Mie theory
(330.1730) Vision, color, and visual optics : Colorimetry
(010.7295) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Visibility and imaging

History
Original Manuscript: May 23, 2011
Manuscript Accepted: July 1, 2011
Published: September 30, 2011

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

Citation
Raymond L. Lee, Jr. and Philip Laven, "Visibility of natural tertiary rainbows," Appl. Opt. 50, F152-F161 (2011)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-50-28-F152

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