Rayleigh scattering


Ray·​leigh scattering ˈrā-lē- How to pronounce Rayleigh scattering (audio)
: scattering of light by particles small enough to render the effect selective so that different colors are deflected through different angles

Examples of Rayleigh scattering in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web So Rayleigh scattering is intensified, with orange dominating the light that makes it to your eyes. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 15 June 2022 The physics at play here is Rayleigh scattering. Jamie Carter, Forbes, 14 July 2022 In the shadow and the angle the light hits the Earth, a process called Rayleigh scattering occurs, which is basically the refraction of light. Rick Green, courant.com, 19 Nov. 2021 Such a sight would have had the capacity to inspire Seurat, especially considering that the artist was keen on the science of diffraction and Rayleigh scattering. Stephen James O’Meara, Discover Magazine, 16 Apr. 2021 Light from the sun enters the atmosphere, and the blue colors are reflected more than other colors—this is called Rayleigh scattering. Rhett Allain, Wired, 18 Dec. 2020 The size and composition of molecules in Earth's atmosphere, through a process called Rayleigh scattering, dictate what wavelengths of light will be refracted. Jennifer Leman, Popular Mechanics, 27 May 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Rayleigh scattering.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


John W. S. Rayleigh

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Rayleigh scattering was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near Rayleigh scattering

Cite this Entry

“Rayleigh scattering.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Rayleigh%20scattering. Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

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