New observations and analyses are presented of the opposition effect on mud cracks (mud polygons) on desert playas. The enhanced brightness of the surface near the antisolar point has been previously and correctly ascribed to two sources: shadow-hiding and coherent backscatter. The observations reported here suggest that a third optical mechanism influences the OE: some parts of the mud polygon are more strongly illuminated than others, depending on the angle of incidence of sunlight. This causes the areas facing the observer and the sun to be brighter than the rest of the polygon field. This mechanism, called “dilution,” also should occur in all OEs.
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