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Iridescent clouds and distorted coronas

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Abstract

Near-forward scattering of sunlight generates coronas and iridescence on clouds. Coronas are caused by diffraction, whereas iridescence is less easily explained. Iridescence often appears as bands of color aligned with the edges of clouds or as apparently random patches of color on clouds. This paper suggests that iridescence is due to interference between light that has been diffracted by a spherical droplet of water and light that has been transmitted through the same droplet.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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