In scattering experiments, for example light scattering, the scattering strength from different sized particles is depicted as below.
What I can't understand is: how does a particle know which direction the light is coming from and therefore which direction to bias the scattering (as in the case of large particles)? For instance, if we are just thinking about the electron oscillations, don't they just occur perpendicular to the light source?
So in my example below, I have a particle being illuminated from the left, and one from the right. If we were to look at JUST the electron oscillations inside particle, wouldn't they be doing the exact same thing? So how does the scattered wave seem to 'know' where 0 degrees is in relation to the incoming beam?