Abstract

The relationship between stellar scintillation in the strong-focusing regime and the atmosphere’s vertical turbulence profile is investigated with numerical simulation. For two distinct atmospheric profiles, the irradiance variance at a point on a telescope aperture is evaluated as a function of the weighted path-integrated turbulence (i.e., Rytov variance). Additionally, we compute the aperture-averaged irradiance variance and the log-amplitude correlation across the aperture as functions of the Rytov variance. For one atmospheric profile, scintillation is dominated by turbulence in the tropopause; for the other, scintillation arises from turbulence in both the tropopause and the lower troposphere. The numerical results indicate that (1) stellar scintillation depends on the actual profile of atmospheric turbulence and not just on its weighted integral and (2) in the strong-focusing regime the irradiance variance is determined primarily by an optical wave’s coherence length as it passes through the tropopause.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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