Abstract

The shape deviation of falling raindrops from exact spheres is known to affect the appearance of natural rainbows, e.g., by enhancing the visibility of supernumerary arcs around the top or by creating branching effects known as “twinned rainbows.” To check the accuracy of numerical optical models for rainbow scattering from such nonspherical drops, two simple and low-cost experiments are presented in this paper: (1) sessile, i.e., sitting, drops on ultrahydrophobic surfaces, and (2) glass beads in the shape of falling raindrops. The experimental results are compared to polarization-resolved Monte Carlo ray-tracing simulations, with special emphasis on circular polarization, which results from total internal reflections in these nonspherical scatterers.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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