Image Processing Reference
Effects of Turbulence on a Wavefront
Figure 2.2 Deflection of a non-normal angle of incidence ray of light as it travels
through the atmosphere toward the ground. The deflection of the ray is shown in nor-
malized units and does not include the effects of the earth's curvature.
however, these small variations create significant changes in the propagation path
of light, particularly when it is traveling over long distances.
Combining the information from Fig. 2.1 with Eq. 2.1 yields the static index of
refraction of the atmosphere. Figure 2.2 shows the effect that this modeled atmo-
sphere has on a ray of light. This “flat-earth model” shows a beam entering the up-
per atmosphere at an angle of 10 deg from vertical and the amount that the light is
bent from its linear path.
Of course, this model of the atmosphere is not complete, because it assumes
that air within the various layers does not mix. As such, this model is only good for
a brief instant of time.
2.3 Description of a Wavefront
Geometrical optics describes the path of a ray of light traveling between two points.
The path it travels through the various media is described by Snell's law of reflec-
tion and refraction (Hecht 2002), which was used to generate the results shown in
Fig. 2.2. The breakdown of the simple geometric optics model becomes apparent