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What happens when sunlight enters the earth atmosphere?
When sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, it is refracted in all possible directions by the atoms and molecules of various gases present. This is known as 'light scattering'. When a beam of light interacts with a particle of the medium in this phenomenon, it is redirected in all directions. Scatterer refers to the medium's interacting particles.
Scattering of light rays
Types of scattering
Many types of scattering occur when a beam of light interacts with a constituent particle of the medium. Scattering can be classified based on the initial and final energy of the light beam.
  • Elastic scattering
  • Inelastic scattering
Elastic scattering:

Elastic scattering occurs when the incident beam of light and the scattered beam of light have the same energy.
Inelastic scattering:

Inelastic scattering occurs when the energy of the incident beam of light and the energy of the scattered beam of light differs.
The nature and size of the scatterer result in different types of scattering. They are
• Rayleigh scattering
• Mie scattering
• Tyndall scattering
• Raman scattering