Physics quiz question: polarization by scattering

Physics 205B Quiz 1, spring semester 2012
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Cf. Giambattista/Richardson/Richardson, Physics, 2/e, Multiple-Choice Question 22.6

If the sun is directly overhead, and you are looking at the east horizon, you would observe light that is:
(A) partially polarized horizontally, north-south.
(B) partially polarized horizontally, east-west.
(C) partially polarized vertically (up-down).
(D) randomly polarized (unpolarized).

Correct answer: (A)

Unpolarized light from overhead sun, intercepted by particle along the east horizon, makes particle vibrate north-south and east-west. From your viewpoint, you would only see the north-south polarization mode, as the east-west mode would be longitudinal (which light waves are not).

Section 30882
Exam code: quiz01pL2r
(A) : 26 students
(B) : 2 students
(C) : 0 students
(D) : 1 student

Success level: 90%
Discrimination index (Aubrecht & Aubrecht, 1983): 0.33

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