Abstract

Crepuscular and solar rays are visible by means of the contrast between sunlit and (usually) cloud-shaded portions of the atmosphere. Their visibility depends on (1) the volume angular-scattering coefficient β(ϕ), (2) the brightness of the sunlit sky, and (3) the integrated optical path through the shadowed regions of the atmosphere. We show that the geometry of path length through the umbra (3) is sufficiently important that it can account for most of the observed properties of rays, except when the volume angular-scattering coefficient β(ϕ) is sharply peaked in the forward direction.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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