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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 69, Iss. 8 — Aug. 1, 1979
  • pp: 1112–1118

What size of ice crystals causes the halos?

Alistair B. Fraser  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 69, Issue 8, pp. 1112-1118 (1979)

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It is shown that, contrary to classical theory, the circular halos need not be caused by randomly oriented crystals. Furthermore, if Brownian motion is the disorienting mechanism then the circular halos cannot be caused by the randomly oriented crystals, which are too small to produce a reasonably sharp diffraction pattern. However, the circular halos can be caused by crystals that are in the region where there is a transition between randomness and high orientation. These crystals have diameters between about 12 and 40 µm. Larger crystals produce the parhelia and tangent arcs. It is shown that the 46° halo is rare because it can be produced only by solid columns, and then for only a restricted range of sun heights.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

Alistair B. Fraser, "What size of ice crystals causes the halos?," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1112-1118 (1979)

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  1. R. A. R. Tricker, Introduction to Meteorological Optics (Elsevier, New York, 1970), p. 81.
  2. R. G. Cox, "The steady motion of a particle of the arbitrary shape at small Reynolds numbers," J. Fluid Mech. 23, 625–643 (1965).
  3. K. O. L. F. Jayaweera and R. E. Cottis, "Fall velocities of plate-like and columnar ice crystals," Q. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 95, 703–709 (1969).
  4. Charles S. Hastings, "A General Theory of Halos," Monthly Weather Review, 322–330 (June 1920).
  5. A. H. Auer and D. L. Veal, "The dimensions of ice crystals in natural clouds," J. Atmos. Sci. 27, 919–926 (1970).

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