Abstract

The atmospheric corona is a well-known diffraction phenomenon, typically seen as colored rings surrounding the Sun or Moon. In many respects, Fraunhofer diffraction provides a good explanation of the corona. As the angular sizes of the corona’s rings are inversely proportional to the radius, r, of the spherical particles causing the corona, it should be easy to estimate the particle size from observations and photographs. Noting that some of the techniques commonly used for particle sizing based on diffraction theory can give misleading results for coronas caused by the scattering of sunlight, this paper uses Mie theory simulations to demonstrate that the inner 3 red rings of the corona have angular radii of θ16/r, 31/r, and 47/r, when θ is measured in degrees and r is measured in μm.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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