Abstract

We present new observations of glitter and glints using short and long time exposure photographs and high frame rate videos. Using the sun and moon as light sources to illuminate the ocean and laboratory water basins, we found that (1) most glitter takes place on capillary waves rather than on gravity waves, (2) certain aspects of glitter morphology depend on the presence or absence of thin clouds between the light source and the water, and (3) bent glitter paths are caused by asymmetric wave slope distributions We present computer simulations that are able to reproduce the observations and make predictions about the brightness, polarization, and morphology of glitter and glints. We demonstrate that the optical catastrophe represented by creation and annihilation of a glint can be understood using both ray optics and diffraction theory.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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Supplementary Material (4)

» Media 1: AVI (5987 KB)     
» Media 2: MOV (271 KB)     
» Media 3: MOV (367 KB)     
» Media 4: MOV (47226 KB)     

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