Intensity and Polarisation of Skylight at Sunrise and Sunset


IT is now well-established that the illumination of the clear day-sky at high-level stations is almost entirely due to molecular scattering by the atmosphere. The remarkable changes in the character of skyillumination which take place when the sun approaches and gets below the horizon have been the subjects of study of a number of investigators and in recent years, particularly of Profs. Dorno1 and Gruner.2 Some of the phenomena, as for example, the changes of colour and polarisation of skylight and the appearance of the earth-shadow, occur in the clearest of weathers and at such high-level stations that their origin cannot be attributed to anything other than molecular scattering. Gruner has, indeed, shown that the observed changes of colour of skylight when the sun is near the horizon can be explained by scattering by a pure atmosphere.

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  1. 1

    C. Dorno, “Himmelshelligkeit, Himmelspolarisation und Sonnenintensität in Davos, 1911 bis 1918”, Veröffent. des Prüssischen Meteor. Instituts, Abhandlungen, Bd. 6, 1919.

  2. 2

    P. Gruner, “Beiträge zur Physik der freien Atmosphäre”, Bd. 8, pp. 1 and 120 (1919).

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RAMANATHAN, K. Intensity and Polarisation of Skylight at Sunrise and Sunset. Nature 118, 337–338 (1926).

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