Abstract

There are several methods for measuring ground-level atmospheric turbulence parameters, such as the refractive index profile and its fluctuations, correlations of the fluctuations in space and time, and the atmospheric refractive-index structure constant. These methods are based mainly on the measurement of fluctuations in intensity and location of an image formed by light propagating in the turbulent atmosphere or the fluctuations in impinging points of narrow light beams traversing the ground-level atmosphere. Exploiting the moiré technique, we suggest a high-precision approach for determining fluctuaions in the angle of arrival. When a low-frequency grating (carrier grating) is installed at a suitable distance from a telescope, its image, practically, forms on the focal plane of the telescope objective. Superimposing a physical grating (probe grating) of the same pitch as the image grating on the image forms the moiré pattern. The atmospheric turbulence distorts the image grating. Processing the fluctuations of successive moiré fringes can yield the mentioned parameters across a rather large cross section of the atmosphere with high accuracy, because of the moiré technique's magnifying character and access to a large volume of data, and does so in a comparatively simple and reliable manner.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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