Abstract

Scintillation measurements of a 1064nm laser at a 5kHz sampling rate were made by an optical ground station at the European Space Agency observatory in Tenerife, Spain while tracking a low Earth orbit satellite during the spring and summer of 2010. The scintillation index (SI), the variance of irradiance normalized to the square of the mean, and power spectra measurements were compared to theoretical predictions based on the Kolmogorov spectrum, the Maui3 nighttime turbulence profile, weak scintillation finite-beam wave theory, included receiver, and source aperture averaging with no free-fitting parameters. Good agreement was obtained, not only for the magnitude of the observed fluctuations, but also for the corresponding elevation angle dependence and shape of the power spectra. Little variation was seen for the SI between daytime and nighttime links. For all elevation angles, ascending and descending, the observed scintillation over extensive regions of the atmosphere is consistent with log-normal statistics. Additionally, it appears from the results presented here that the nighttime turbulence profile for the atmosphere above the observatory in Tenerife is similar to that above Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii.

© 2011 Optical Society of America

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