Reading: A low-cost partially automated polarimeter for investigating skylight polarisation

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A low-cost partially automated polarimeter for investigating skylight polarisation

Authors:

CP Abayaratne ,

LK
About CP

Department of Physics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda.

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AVUA Wickramarathna,

LK
About AVUA

Department of Physics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda.

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DD Rodrigo,

LK
About DD

Central Environmental Authority, 162, Negombo Road, Kurunegala.

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KS Mannathunga

LK
About KS

Department of Physics, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Gangodawila, Nugegoda.

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Abstract

Skylight polarisation pattern in general and the positions of the polarisation neutral points in particular are important parameters in atmospheric science. The construction and operation of a low cost partially automated polarimeter for studying the polarisation pattern of skylight in the principal plane of the sun, and some results obtained for the skylight polarisation pattern using the polarimeter are presented in this paper. The polarimeter mainly consists of a collimating tube with a linear polariser and a detector consisting of a light dependent resistor controlled by a microprocessor. The degree of polarisation for a given angular distance from the sun in the principal plane of the sun was measured using the maximum and minimum currents passing through the light dependant resistor (LDR) computed through voltage measurements across the LDR. Positions of the polarisation neutral points and the maximum degree of polarisation were determined graphically using plots of the degree of polarisation as functions of the angular solar distance. The error in the neutral point positions was estimated to be 2°, while that of the degree of polarisation was estimated to be a maximum of 18 %. The measurements taken at different times on relatively clear sky days during a period of over one year provided consistent results in fairly good agreement with similar studies carried out using more sophisticated instruments as well as theoretical predictions for a molecular atmosphere. An attempt has also been made to account for any deviations of the quantitative results from those of other studies.

How to Cite: Abayaratne, C. et al., (2016). A low-cost partially automated polarimeter for investigating skylight polarisation. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka. 44(1), pp.95–103. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jnsfsr.v44i1.7986
Published on 31 Mar 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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