Abstract

We present a physical-optics-based theory for aberration of starlight and show that the influence of the moving sensor on the incident stellar wavefront combined with a finite velocity of light within the sensor can fully account for the aberration phenomena. Our treatment differs from all previous derivations because we include wavefront-imaging physics within the sensor model. Our predictions match existing Earth-based aberration measurements but differ from predictions of the special relativistic-based theory for larger velocities. We derive design parameters for an experiment using an Earth-based sensor containing a refractive optical medium that would experimentally differentiate between these two theories and yield an independent experimental test of time dilation.

©2012 Optical Society of America

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