Abstract

Rainbows, coronas and glories are caused by the scattering of sunlight from water droplets in the atmosphere. Although these optical phenomena are seen fairly frequently, even scientifically minded people sometimes struggle to provide explanations for their formation. This paper offers explanations of these phenomena based on numerical computations of the scattering of a 5fs pulse of red light by a spherical droplet of water. The results reveal the intricate details of the various scattering mechanisms, some of which are essentially undetectable except in the time domain.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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