Rayleigh scattering

Ray·leigh scattering

noun \ˈrā-lē-\


:  scattering of light by particles small enough to render the effect selective so that different colors are deflected through different angles


John W. S. Rayleigh
First Known Use: 1937

Rayleigh scattering

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Dispersion of electromagnetic radiation by particles with radii less than the wavelength of the radiation. It is named for Baron Rayleigh, who described it in 1871. Since blue light is at the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum, it is scattered in the atmosphere much more than the longer-wavelength red light. This causes the blue colour of the sky, since the observer sees only the scattered light. The Rayleigh laws predict the variation of the intensity and the polarization of scattered light.


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