Abstract

Measurements have been made of the scintillation of a laser beam after propagating over an 8-km path near the ground. The measurements were made with collection apertures ranging from 1 mm to 1 m in diameter. The probability distribution of the scintillation was found to be log-normal for all collector diameters. The log-normal variance decreased smoothly for diameters from 1 mm to about 10 cm, but showed no decrease between 10 cm and 1 m. A hypothesis is offered which explains those results which are anomalous in terms of present theories. Measurements of the log-normal variance were made over extensive periods on three days, during winter, spring, and summer. From these the atmosphere’s refractive-index structure constant, <i>C<sub>N</sub></i><sup>2</sup>, was computed. Values of <i>C<sub>N</sub></i><sup>2</sup> were found to be fairly constant over the full range of measurements, falling between 3 and 6×10<sup>-15</sup>m<sup>-1</sup>, except near sunrise and sunset, when values of about 1×10<sup>-15</sup>m<sup>-1</sup>, were more typical.

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