Direct solutions of the Maxwell equations explain opposition phenomena observed...

Mishchenko, M., J. M. Dlugach, L. Liu, V. K. Rosenbush, N. N. Kiselev, and Yu. G. Shkuratov (2009), Direct solutions of the Maxwell equations explain opposition phenomena observed for high-albedo solar system objects, Astrophys. J. Lett., 705, L118-L122, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/705/2/L118.

Several spectacular backscattering effects observed for particulate planetary surfaces have been interpreted in terms of the effect of weak localization (WL) of electromagnetic waves. However, the interference concept of WL explicitly relies on the notion of phase of an electromagnetic wave and is strictly applicable only when particles forming the surface are widely separated. Therefore, one needs a definitive quantitative proof of the WL nature of specific optical effects observed for densely packed particulate media. We use numerically exact computer solutions of the Maxwell equations to simulate electromagnetic scattering by realistic models consisting of large numbers of randomly positioned, densely packed particles. By increasing the particle packing density from zero to ∼40%, we track the onset and evolution of the full suite of backscattering optical effects predicted by the low-density theory of WL, including the brightness and polarization opposition effects (BOE and POE). We find that all manifestations of WL, except the circular polarization ratio and POE, are remarkably immune to packing-density effects. Even POE can survive packing densities typical of planetary regolith surfaces. Our numerical data coupled with the results of unique observations at near-backscattering geometries demonstrate that the BOE and POE detected simultaneously for high-albedo solar system objects are caused by the effect of WL.

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Radiation Science Program (RSP)