Abstract

We have measured power spectra of atmospheric phase fluctuations with the Mark III stellar interferometer on Mt. Wilson under a wide variety of seeing conditions. On almost all nights, the high-frequency portions of the temporal power spectra closely follow the form predicted by the standard Kolmogorov–Tatarski model. At lower frequencies, a variety of behavior is observed. On a few nights, the spectra clearly exhibit the low-frequency flattening characteristic of turbulence with an outer-scale length of the order of 30 m. On other nights, examination of individual spectra yields no strong evidence of an outer scale less than a few kilometers in size, but comparison of the spectra on different interferometer baselines shows a saturation of the spatial structure function on long baselines. This saturation is consistent with the assumption of an outer-scale length similar to that derived for the nights when low-frequency flattening of the spectra is clearly seen. We discuss possible explanations of this behavior and conclude that power spectra from a single interferometer baseline are a poor diagnostic for the effective outer scale compared with multiple-baseline spectra.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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