Naked eye visibility of Sirius in broad daylight
Published in Appl. Opt. 54, B1-B7 in 2015
G.P. Können, J. Tinbergen, and P. Stammes
Sirius was spotted with the naked eye at broad daylight by looking along the finder of a 1 m telescope on La Palma Observatory at a 2370 m height. Sun elevation was 73°; Sirius was nearly straight under the Sun at 37° elevation. The sky radiance, although not recorded directly, could be determined from the simultaneously obtained high-precision wavelength-dependent sky polarization data near Sirius. This was done by fitting the polarization data with the doubling-adding KNMI (DAK) radiative transfer model, which provided the values of the surface albedo and of the aerosol optical thickness required for determining the absolute sky radiance. Our analysis implies that Sirius, when positioned overhead, can be a daytime naked eye object from sea level even if its culmination occurs at solar noon. It also suggests that the second-brightest star (Canopus), if positioned overhead, could be perceptible even at solar noon.