Abstract

The atmospheric degradation of optical images is investigated by assuming the refractive-index structure function to be independent of the distance between two correlation points when such distance is larger than the outer scale (Von Karman model). It is found that, in most practical cases, the atmospheric turbulence puts a limit to the resolution as predicted by the 2/3-power law, however, only when the turbulence is sufficiently strong. The parameter distinguishing strong from weak turbulence turns out to be the limit value of the wave structure function Dw (∞) for infinite distance. Weak turbulence, with Dw (∞) ≲ 20, does not put a limit to the resolution of an optical system.

© 1973 Optical Society of America

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