Atmospheric Phenomena

Rainbows and Other Colorful Phenomena

How is Mie scattering different from Rayleigh scattering?

Mie scattering deals with energy waves by particles larger than the wavelengths of light, while Rayleigh scattering (named after English physicist John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh [1842–1919]) deals with how light is scattered by particles smaller than electromagnetic wavelengths. Mie scattering can explain things like the reddish color of clouds during a sunset (scattering at the level of dust and water particles), while Rayleigh scattering explains why the sky is blue (scattering at the molecular level).


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