chap1_051 - spheric optics is the study of...

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32 CHAPTER 1 Weather Analysis: TheTools of theTrade Sky Lights While driving through bucolic central Pennsylvania, you sometimes see bumper stickers on cars that read: "If God isn't a Penn State fan, why is the sky blue and white?" (Our apologies to North Carolina Tarheel fans.) Though this light-hearted explanation of atmospheric colors may evoke a chuckle, the scientific bases for blue skies and white clouds are atthe heart of a branch of meteorology called atmospheric optics. Rainbows, mirages, and red sunsets are a few additional phenom- ena that fall under the heading of atmospheric optics (see Figure 1.31 for a couple others). In short, atmo-
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Unformatted text preview: spheric optics is the study of "sky lights." In many of the chapters that follow, we will delve into a fundamen-tal topic in optics that relates to the chapter material, hoping to shed scientific light on the kaleidoscope of colors that paint our sky. FIGURE 1.31 An atmospheric optics show over the Halley Research Station in Antarctica in April 2007. The splotches of colored light to the left and right of the sun are parhelia, or sundogs. Additional arcs and halos are also visible (courtesy of Richard Corbett, British Antarctic Survey)....
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