Diffraction of Sunlight in a Spider Web

December 17, 2007

778pxspiderwebdiffraction

Provided by: Mila Zinkova, Fogshadow
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster, Mila Zinkova

As shown above in this scintillating photograph, and in yesterday's Earth Science Picture of the Day as well, the silken threads of spider webs are often just the right diameter to diffract sunlight. Owing to its wave properties, light can be deflected about fine particles, droplets and objects (on the order of several microns in diameter or width), such as the strands composing spider webs.