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Blue spot on the parhelic circle

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Abstract

We develop a theory for a new effect on the parhelic circle. We show that there is a colored segment on the parhelic circle at a certain large azimuth that depends on solar elevation. The color segment appears at solar elevations below 32° and is explained as a transition between total and partial internal reflection in the main ray paths of the parhelic circle in oriented ice crystals. Based on our simple refraction theory and computer simulations, we find that the color of the segment is mainly green and blue. The theory is tested with available photographs of the effect.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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