We present new observations of glitter and glints using short and long time exposure photographs and high frame rate videos. Using the sun and moon as light sources to illuminate the ocean and laboratory water basins, we found that (1) most glitter takes place on capillary waves rather than on gravity waves, (2) certain aspects of glitter morphology depend on the presence or absence of thin clouds between the light source and the water, and (3) bent glitter paths are caused by asymmetric wave slope distributions We present computer simulations that are able to reproduce the observations and make predictions about the brightness, polarization, and morphology of glitter and glints. We demonstrate that the optical catastrophe represented by creation and annihilation of a glint can be understood using both ray optics and diffraction theory. (C) 2011 Optical Society of America
Glitter and Glints on WaterApplied Optics
Publisher's StatementThis paper was published in Applied Optics and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ao/abstract.cfm?URI=ao-50-28-F39. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.
Citation InformationLynch, David K., David S. P. Dearborn, and James A. Lock. "Glitter and Glints on Water." Applied Optics 50 (2011): F39-F49.