Abstract

Quondam lunar eclipse photometry data offered valuable information on the optical properties of the middle atmosphere, including dust particles. However, in comparison with nonspherical grains, the simple model of spherical particles has a different effect on solar radiation penetrating horizontally through the atmosphere. It is shown that the systems, in which the smallest size fraction of dust particles dominates, reduce irradiation of the Earth’s shadow more efficiently if the grains are of irregular shape. In contrast, the populations contaminated by a certain amount of large particles cause an opposite effect. Depending on the actual form of the size distribution function of the irregular grains, the irradiance within the center of the Earth’s shadow may change by 2 orders of magnitude in the visible spectrum. It is therefore evident that dust properties retrieved in the past are eligible candidates for reevaluation to correct a view on the dust trend in the middle atmosphere. Sample calculations are presented for the lunar eclipse observed on 19 January 1954.

© 2005 Optical Society of America

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