We derive a multipole scattering solution for a system resembling a simple cell. In the model, a spherical cytoplasm is surrounded by a concentric cell membrane. Contained within the cytoplasm is a nonconcentric spherical nucleus. Because of the nature of the (multipole expansion) solution, numerical results can be acquired quite rapidly. We show that the resulting scatter is very sensitive to the system geometry and optical properties. Such a solution may also be used to calculate the scatter from fluorescing molecules located within the cell. © 1998 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.