Bidirectional reflectance spectroscopy 8. The angular width of the opposition effect in regolith-like media

1Bruce Hapke
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article []
1Department of Geology and Environmental Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Copyright Elsevier

The opposition effect is the sharp, narrow surge observed in the reflectance of a scattering medium near zero phase angle. Numerous observations and experiments have shown that the primary cause of the phenomenon in particulate media is coherent backscattering, in which wavelets traveling in opposite directions along chains of scatterers interfere constructively and generate the peak. A broader opposition surge caused by shadow hiding and preferential escape is also present, but is entangled with the incoherent continuum reflectance on which the coherent peak is superposed, making it difficult to identify and isolate. Theoretical models of media of independent scatterers predict that the angular width and shape of the coherent backscatter peak depend on the wavelength, porosity and particle size. It was hoped that remote measurements of the opposition effect would give information on the latter two quantities in planetary regoliths. However, observations and laboratory studies of media of large particles in contact with one another find little dependence on any of these quantities. Instead, these studies imply that the opposition effect in regolith-like media comes from reflection by short chains only a few scatterers long located on the surfaces of the particles of the medium, and that the lengths of these chains are proportional to the wavelength. Since the angular width of the peak is controlled by the ratio of the wavelength to the mean scattering chain length, the width is independent of wavelength. Because the wavelets never enter a particle, low albedo media can exhibit a strong coherent backscatter peak. Opposition effect peaks less than a degree wide on solar system bodies can imply an immature regolith; peaks several degrees wide imply a mature regolith.


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