Abstract

The paper by Fraser [ A. B. Fraser, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1112 ( 1979)] provides a critical assessment of the commonly made assumption that halos around the Sun are produced by randomly oriented ice crystals. He concludes that crystals that are small enough to be randomly oriented are, in addition, too small to contribute significantly to the production of a halo; thus the commonly made assumption is false. However, some doubt is cast on this conclusion by the fact that it is based on what may be regarded either as a misapplication of Maxwell–Boltzmann statistics or as, perhaps, a mathematical error. The purpose of this Communication is simply to point this out. Left unanswered are the important questions of how big an error this is and even of whether its correction would weaken or strengthen Fraser’s main conclusion.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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