Abstract

Mellin transform techniques are applied to evaluate the covariance of the integrated turbulence-induced phase distortions along a pair of ray paths through the atmosphere from two points in a telescope aperture to a pair of sources at finite or infinite range. The derivation is for the case of a finite outer scale and a von Karman turbulence spectrum. The Taylor hypothesis is assumed if the two phase distortions are evaluated at two different times and amplitude scintillation effects are neglected. The resulting formula for the covariance is a power series in one variable for the case of a fixed atmospheric wind velocity profile and a power series in two variables for a fixed wind-speed profile with a random and uniformly distributed wind direction. These formulas are computationally efficient and can be easily integrated into computer codes for the numerical evaluation of adaptive optics system performance. Sample numerical results are presented to illustrate the effect of a finite outer scale on the performance of natural and laser guide star adaptive optics systems for an 8-m astronomical telescope. A hypothetical outer scale of 10 m significantly reduces the magnitude of tilt anisoplanatism, thereby improving the performance of a laser guide star adaptive optics system if the auxiliary natural star used for full-aperture tip/tilt sensing is offset from the science field. The reduction in higher-order anisoplanatism that is due to a 10-m outer scale is smaller, and the off-axis performance of a natural guide star adaptive optics system is not significantly improved.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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