Abstract

The Airy theory of the rainbow is extended to polarized light. For both polarization directions a simple analytic expression is obtained for the intensity distribution as a function of the scattering angle in terms of the Airy function and its derivative. This approach is valid at least down to droplet diameters of 0.3 mm in visible light. The degree of polarization of the rainbow is less than expected from geometrical optics; it increases with droplet size. For a droplet diameter >1 mm the locations of the supernumerary rainbows are equal for both polarization directions, but for a diameter <1 mm the supernumerary rainbows of the weaker polarization component are located between those in the strong component.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

Full Article  |  PDF Article
OSA Recommended Articles
Angular scattering and rainbow formation in pendant drops

Kenneth Sassen
J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69(8) 1083-1089 (1979)

Imaging polarimetry of the fogbow: polarization characteristics of white rainbows measured in the high Arctic

Gábor Horváth, Ramón Hegedüs, András Barta, Alexandra Farkas, and Susanne Åkesson
Appl. Opt. 50(28) F64-F71 (2011)

Appearance of supernumeraries of the secondary rainbow in rain showers

G. P. Können
J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 4(5) 810-816 (1987)

References

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Citation lists with outbound citation links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Cited By

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Cited by links are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Figures (3)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Figure files are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Equations (27)

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Equations are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription

Metrics

You do not have subscription access to this journal. Article level metrics are available to subscribers only. You may subscribe either as an OSA member, or as an authorized user of your institution.

Contact your librarian or system administrator
or
Login to access OSA Member Subscription