Photo Gallery Applied Optics Special Issue on Light and Color in the Open Air


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

Photo Gallery: Applied Optics Special Issue on Light and Color in the Open Air

Images capture beauty and science behind natural optical phenomena

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6– Nature creates countless stunning optical phenomena. Some of the most familiar are rainbows, fog bows, coronas, sprites, and mirages, but other, more complex and often more compelling phenomena are also witnessed and imaged, though far less frequently and often under challenging conditions that require great patience. When captured as images, these phenomena also reveal important scientific insights into the properties of light under normal and extreme natural conditions. To highlight research in this area, the editors of the Optical Society's (OSA) journal Applied Optics, have published a special focus issue on Light and Color in the Open Air. Accompanying the issue is an online photo gallery of the most striking images of natural optical phenomena contained in the papers in this special issue.

The images in the gallery were selected for their evocative qualities, inspirational presentation, and their ability to represent complex optical principles simply. Images include optical phenomena such as moon glitter on the ocean, a lunar corona, noctilucent clouds, mirages, supersuns, and underwater 3-D imaging. The papers in the special issue were contributed by a mix of physicists, engineers, meteorologists, astronomers, and enthusiasts in the field of natural optical phenomena. Also in the issue, a separate news release with images of the first-ever photographs of both triple and quadruple rainbows is available online.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Each image in the gallery contains a brief descriptive caption as well as a more thorough lay-language summary. This lay-language summary describes the subject matter and the basic optics involved in its interpretation. The captions also include a link to their respective papers, which present a thorough analysis of the phenomena and contain other related images. High-resolution versions of any of the images in the gallery are available to members of the media upon request. Please contact Lyndsay Meyer,

About Applied Optics

Applied Optics is the Optical Society's most widely read journal. Published three times each month, the journal reports significant optics applications in areas such as optical testing and instrumentation, medical optics, holography, optical neural networks, LIDAR and remote sensing, laser materials processing, and more. Each issue of Applied Optics contains content from three divisions of editorial scope: Optical Technology; Information Processing; and Lasers, Photonics, and Environmental Optics. For more information, visit

About OSA
Uniting more than 130,000 professionals from 175 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit