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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Richard Wilson

Butterley, T., Wilson, R. W. & Sarazin, M. (2006). Determination of the profile of atmospheric optical turbulence strength from SLODAR data. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 369(2): 835-845.

Author(s) from Durham


Slope Detection and Ranging (SLODAR) is a technique for the measurement of the vertical profile of atmospheric optical turbulence strength. Its main applications are astronomical site characterization and real-time optimization of imaging with adaptive optical correction. The turbulence profile is recovered from the cross-covariance of the slope of the optical phase aberration for a double star source, measured at the telescope with a wavefront sensor (WFS). Here, we determine the theoretical response of a SLODAR system based on a Shack–Hartmann WFS to a thin turbulent layer at a given altitude, and also as a function of the spatial power spectral index of the optical phase aberrations. Recovery of the turbulence profile via fitting of these theoretical response functions is explored. The limiting resolution in altitude of the instrument and the statistical uncertainty of the measured profiles are discussed. We examine the measurement of the total integrated turbulence strength (the seeing) from the WFS data and, by subtraction, the fractional contribution from all turbulence above the maximum altitude for direct sensing of the instrument. We take into account the effects of noise in the measurement of wavefront slopes from centroids and the form of the spatial structure function of the atmospheric optical aberrations.


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