Engineering Approximations Of Common Aero Optics Effects

Leonard John Otten III

Aerodynamically introduced optical aberrations occur in all types of moving, transmitting or receiving optical systems. While these distortions have always been present, the advances in the quality of the optics and image processing technologies are only now making the general topic of aero optics a concern to optical designers. In the immediate vicinity of the moving vehicle, the general cause of this type of optical distortion is a variation in the density of the surrounding media, as it is displaced by the vehicle. Depending on the nature of the motion of the optical platform, a host of different types of distortions can be introduced. These run the gamut from steady state effects that act as an optical element, to time variable losses that are treated as statistical processes.

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