Abstract

The problem of “distortionless” viewing with terrestrial telescopic systems (mainly “binoculars”) remains problematic. The so called “globe effect” is only partially counteracted in modern designs. Theories addressing the phenomenon have never reached definitive closure. In this paper, we show that exact distortionless viewing with terrestrial telescopic systems is not possible in general, but that it is in principle possible in—very frequent in battle field and marine applications—the case of horizon scanning. However, this involves cylindrical optical elements. For opto-electronic systems, a full solution is more readily feasible. The solution involves a novel interpretation of the relevant constraints and objectives. For final design decisions, it is not necessary to rely on a corpus of psychophysical (or ergonomic) data, although one has to decide whether the instrument is intended as an extension of the eye or as a “pictorial” device.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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