General Theory of Light Propagation and Imaging Through the Atmosphere

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Springer, Aug 5, 2015 - Science - 624 pages

This book lays out a new, general theory of light propagation and imaging through Earth’s turbulent atmosphere. Current theory is based on the – now widely doubted – assumption of Kolmogorov turbulence. The new theory is based on a generalized atmosphere, the turbulence characteristics of which can be established, as needed, from readily measurable properties of point-object, or star, images.

The pessimistic resolution predictions of Kolmogorov theory led to lax optical tolerance prescriptions for large ground-based astronomical telescopes which were widely adhered to in the 1970s and 1980s. Around 1990, however, it became clear that much better resolution was actually possible, and Kolmogorov tolerance prescriptions were promptly abandoned. Most large telescopes built before 1990 have had their optics upgraded (e.g., the UKIRT instrument) and now achieve, without adaptive optics (AO), almost an order of magnitude better resolution than before.

As well as providing a more comprehensive and precise understanding of imaging through the atmosphere with large telescopes (both with and without AO), the new general theory also finds applications in the areas of laser communications and high-energy laser beam propagation.

 

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Contents

The Telescope and Its Remarkable Contribution to Scientific Discovery
1
2 Introduction
15
3 Terms Definitions and Theoretical Foundations
33
4 Diffraction
67
5 Wave Propagation After Scattering by a Thin Atmospheric Layer
96
6 Wave Propagation Over Extended Atmospheric Paths
131
7 Properties of PointObject Images Formed by Telescopes
174
8 Atmospheric Path Characterization
201
16 Laser Beam Propagation and Path Characterization
513
17 Atmospheric Isoplanatic Angle
539
James Clerk Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field Equations
576
Coherence Terminology
581
Turbulence OuterScale Limits Measured by Coulman et al
584
Optical Path Characterization Using Scintillometry
591
Radiometry of the Sun and Stars
593
Intensity Correlation Coefficient Estimates and Photon Noise Compensation
597

9 The Average Intensity Envelope of an Unresolved Star Image
233
10 Core and Halo Star Images Formed by Large Telescopes
247
11 Statistical Properties of Stellar Speckle Patterns
292
12 Star Image Dependence on Turbulence Structure Size
347
13 Approximation of Star Images Formed by Large Telescopes
363
14 Telescope Resolution and Optical Tolerance Specifications
405
15 Laboratory Simulation of Images Formed by Large Telescopes
465
Image Core Correspondence from Roger F Griffin
599
Light Scattering by Spherical Turbulence Structures
601
A Critique of Kolmogorov Theory as Applied to Atmospheric Turbulence Modeling
607
References
616
Index
619
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

T. Stewart McKechnie, BS (Hons), MS, PhD, studied at Edinburgh University and Imperial College London, where he subsequently undertook postdoctoral research and lectured in Optics. After working at Loughborough University (UK), Dr. McKechnie went on to become a Consultant in Optics and program leader for optical system development of light valve and CRT-based projection TV systems at North American Philips Laboratories. In 1988 he joined Martin Marietta Corporation, Albuquerque, and in 1989 transferred to Lentec Corporation, where he was responsible for optics support at the Developmental Optics Facility relating to development of optical components for HEL systems. From 1992 to 2003 Dr. McKechnie was an Independent Optics Consultant at McKechnie Optics Research, his clients/projects including ITT Corp, NASA, the ATP Testbed program (formerly HABE), S Systems Corp, Aerotherm Corporation, Imaging Systems Laboratory (Florida Atlantic University) and Sandia National Laboratories. Between 2003 and 2009 he worked at ITT Corporation, Advanced Engineering & Sciences, Albuquerque, New Mexico, as Chief Scientist with responsibility for optical design, modeling, and construction of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and Laser Detection and Ranging (LADAR) remote sensing systems.