Abstract

A simple model is presented for the optical distortion experience by an airborne optical telescope. This model evaluates the distortion produced by a layer of turbulent air in front of the telescope. A correlation length for the boundary layer is introduced, and theoretical considerations predict that this correlation length should be proportional to the 6/5th power of the wavelength. Comparisons to experimental observations confirm this prediction thereby indicating that the distortion experienced by an airborne telescope is dominated by turbulent air rather than mechanical vibrations or thermal stress.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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