Abstract

Flash-induced light echoes—the observation of light reflected from a burst—have been observed in astronomical settings for more than a century and have been observed in the laboratory recently. Because of the flight time of light, perceived light echoes are different from real light illumination patterns on a scattering plane, neglecting interreflections and non-opaque scattering effects. The shape and motion of real illumination patterns are studied from a spherical flash. Then, ellipsoids of constant time delay for a specifically chosen coordinate system are applied. Generally, perceived light echoes are elliptical annular rings and the center of a light echo will not start at the flash, which leads to light echoes moving angularly toward the flash instead of away from it, a phenomenon actually recorded by other groups. The brightness of perceived light echoes was studied, and maximum brightness occurred close to the flash’s projective point on the scattering plane. Two specific examples are given and a magnification effect between perceived echoes and real illumination patterns is proposed.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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