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Proceedings Paper

Atmospheric turbulence characterization of a low-altitude long horizontal path
Author(s): Wesley A. Bernard; Byron M. Welsh; Michael C. Roggemann; Robert J. Feldmann
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Paper Abstract

The limitations placed on optical imaging through the earth's atmosphere are well understood. A large portion of the body of work on this subject deals with vertical optical paths. The transition to the study of horizontal propagation of light is currently being made. Various methods exist that quantify the disturbances introduced on optical signals by turbulent air. Small perturbations of the wave front phase can be measured using a Hartmann wave front sensor (H-WFS). For long optical paths through turbulence spatial and temporal variations in intensity called scintillation arise. Using scintillation statistics and theoretical expressions for structure functions of H-WFS slope values, turbulence strength is studied. Data sets taken from two mountains in Hawaii during an optical communications experiment are studied for comparison with slope structure function and scintillation statistics theory. This experiment was performed at an altitude of 10.000 feet over a horizontal pathlength of 150 km. Results indicate that very strong scintillation exists under these conditions, and that very little faith can be placed in the H-WFS phase-dependent results. Scintillation may provide a more dependable method for optical characterization of these conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 October 1996
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2828, Image Propagation through the Atmosphere, (14 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.254168
Show Author Affiliations
Wesley A. Bernard, Univ. of Dayton (United States)
Byron M. Welsh, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Michael C. Roggemann, Air Force Institute of Technology (United States)
Robert J. Feldmann, Air Force Wright Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2828:
Image Propagation through the Atmosphere
Christopher Dainty; Luc R. Bissonnette, Editor(s)

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