Abstract

The issue that we examine was at the center of a recent scientific debate. A new model by Sadot and Kopeika [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 172 (1993)] suggested a practical approach to the imaging process through the atmosphere. A comment on that model by Bissonnette [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 11, 1175 (1994)] and the response to that comment by Kopeika and Sadot [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 12, 1017 (1995)] only underlined the open questions in this field of atmospheric blurring effects. We suggest a physical model that describes the relationship between the optical properties of the atmosphere and the characteristics of an imaging system. The model describes how different components of the light that are reaching the imaging system, after passing through the atmosphere, are detected by it. The model includes the effects of the finite size of the detector elements of the imaging system and the dynamic range and the finite field-of-view limits of the imager. After the presentation of the model, theoretical predictions and their comparisons with the experimental data of Kopeika and of Bissonnette are given.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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