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Appl Opt. 1980 Oct 15;19(20):3469-80. doi: 10.1364/AO.19.003469.

Characteristics of skylight at the zenith during twilight as indicators of atmospheric turbidity. 1: Degree of polarization.


An extensive series of measurements of the intensity and polarization of the light from the zenith sky during periods of twilight was made at an altitude of 3400 m on the island of Hawaii during a 5-month period in 1977. This first of two papers is on the twilight polarization; the second will deal with intensity. The measurements were made in eight narrow spectral ranges between 0.32 and 0.90 microm under clear sky conditions. The data show that the degree of polarization at the zenith is a sensitive indicator of the existence of turbid layers at high levels in the atmosphere, and by monitoring the zenith skylight as a function of time during the twilight, it is possible to obtain qualitative information on both the altitude and relative density of the layers.

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