Ground-based full-sky imaging polarimetry of rapidly changing skies and its use for polarimetric cloud detection

Gábor Horváth, András Barta, Jòzsef Gál, Bence Suhai, Ottò Haiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


For elimination of the shortcomings of imaging polarimeters that take the necessary three pictures sequentially through linear-polarization filters, a three-lens, three-camera, full-sky imaging polarimeter was designed that takes the required pictures simultaneously. With this polarimeter, celestial polarization patterns can be measured even if rapid temporal changes occur in the sky: under cloudy sky conditions, or immediately after sunrise or prior to sunset. One of the possible applications of our polarimeter is the ground-based detection of clouds. With use of the additional information of the degree and the angle of polarization patterns of cloudy skies measured in the red (650 nm), green (550 nm), and blue (450 nm) spectral ranges, improved algorithms of radiometric cloud detection can be offered. We present a combined radiometric and polarimetric algorithm that performs the detection of clouds more efficiently and reliably as compared with an exclusively radiometric cloud-detection algorithm. The advantages and the limits of three-lens, three-camera, full-sky imaging polarimeters as well as the possibilities of improving our polarimetric cloud detection method are discussed briefly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-559
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 20 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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