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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 18, Iss. 3 — Mar. 1, 2001
  • pp: 631–637

Stellar scintillation and the atmosphere’s vertical turbulence profile

James C. Camparo  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 18, Issue 3, pp. 631-637 (2001)

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The relationship between stellar scintillation in the strong-focusing regime and the atmosphere’s vertical turbulence profile is investigated with numerical simulation. For two distinct atmospheric profiles, the irradiance variance at a point on a telescope aperture is evaluated as a function of the weighted path-integrated turbulence (i.e., Rytov variance). Additionally, we compute the aperture-averaged irradiance variance and the log-amplitude correlation across the aperture as functions of the Rytov variance. For one atmospheric profile, scintillation is dominated by turbulence in the tropopause; for the other, scintillation arises from turbulence in both the tropopause and the lower troposphere. The numerical results indicate that (1) stellar scintillation depends on the actual profile of atmospheric turbulence and not just on its weighted integral and (2) in the strong-focusing regime the irradiance variance is determined primarily by an optical wave’s coherence length as it passes through the tropopause.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(010.1310) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Atmospheric scattering
(010.7060) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Turbulence
(030.7060) Coherence and statistical optics : Turbulence

Original Manuscript: May 22, 2000
Manuscript Accepted: September 19, 2000
Published: March 1, 2001

James C. Camparo, "Stellar scintillation and the atmosphere’s vertical turbulence profile," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 631-637 (2001)

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  14. In principle, a telescope of any diameter may be simulated. However, for larger-aperture telescopes to be considered, the phase-screen length must also become larger, which in turn requires a larger number of pixels to span the screen’s length. (As discussed in Appendix A, the pixel size is bounded by considerations related to the strength of turbulence and the interscreen spacing.) The computational requirements for dealing with phase screens that have large numbers of pixels can quickly become prohibitive.
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  23. The author received the text of D. Fried’s phase-screen generation algorithm from D. L. Fried, 14671 Tumbleweed Lane, Monterey County, Calif. 95076 (private communication).
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