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2 August 2010 Observing light in nature from an airplane window
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Photographs taken from commercial airplanes of optical phenomena in nature, such as rainbows, halos, glories, and sky colors, are shown to illustrate the variety of optical displays that can be observed by an informed and alert observer from an airplane window. Observing tips are provided to enhance the probability of seeing certain phenomenon, based on the time of day, location, and direction of travel of the airplane. Generally, a seat on the sun-ward side of the plane provides opportunities to observe halos, coronas, iridescence, glitter patterns, crepuscular rays, sunsets and twilight colors, while a seat opposite the sun provides opportunities to observe glories, rainbows, cloud bows, Earth's shadow, cloud shadows, contrail shadows, and other shadow phenomena. On flights at high latitudes, (north- or south-) pole-facing seats can sometimes provide opportunities for viewing somewhat more exotic phenomena, such as noctilucent clouds and auroras.
© (2010) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Joseph A. Shaw "Observing light in nature from an airplane window", Proc. SPIE 7782, The Nature of Light: Light in Nature III, 778208 (2 August 2010);

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