Horizon irregularity induced by turbulence
Fried, David L.
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At any instant the optical effects of atmospheric turbulence can result in a somewhat distorted image. As a consequence, the image of the horizon that ought to appear to be a smooth straight line may instead appear somewhat irregular. When we consider turbulence effects we call into question the idea that a small object that we expect to see just above the horizon will stand out (i..e., will be detectable) because it appears as a bump on what is otherwise a smooth straight horizon line. The degree of irregularity that turbulence may be expected to introduce in the image of the horizon is studied, and a theory that permits evaluation of the vertical irregularity as a function of horizontal extent is developed. It is concluded that for a sample case the effect is small but that, for an object close enough to the horizon line, the detection of this object could be interfered with by this effect.
J. Opt. Soc. Am. A, Volume 12, No. 5, pp. 950-957 (May 1995)
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