Compare a corona of the moon to dropping a small stone into a pond


What will be the ideal response?


ANSWER: The corona is due to diffraction of light—the bending of light as it passes around objects. To understand the corona, imagine water waves moving around a small stone in a pond. As the waves spread around the stone, the trough of one wave may meet the crest of another wave. This situation results in the waves canceling each other, thus producing calm water. (This is known as destructive interference.) Where two crests come together (constructive interference), they produce a much larger wave. The same thing happens when light passes around tiny cloud droplets. Where light waves constructively interfere, we see bright light; where destructive interference occurs, we see darkness.


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