12 May 2015 Computing the total atmospheric refraction for real-time optical imaging sensor simulation
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Fast and accurate computation of light path deviation due to atmospheric refraction is an important requirement for real-time simulation of optical imaging sensor systems. A large body of existing literature covers various methods for application of Snell’s Law to the light path ray tracing problem. This paper provides a discussion of the adaptation to real time simulation of atmospheric refraction ray tracing techniques used in mid-1980's LOWTRAN releases. The refraction ray trace algorithm published in a LOWTRAN-6 technical report by Kneizys (et. al.) has been coded in MATLAB for development, and in C-language for simulation use. To this published algorithm we have added tuning parameters for variable path segment lengths, and extensions for Earth grazing and exoatmospheric "near Earth" ray paths. Model atmosphere properties used to exercise the refraction algorithm were obtained from tables published in another LOWTRAN-6 related report. The LOWTRAN-6 based refraction model is applicable to atmospheric propagation at wavelengths in the IR and visible bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. It has been used during the past two years by engineers at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) in support of several advanced imaging sensor simulations. Recently, a faster (but sufficiently accurate) method using Gauss-Chebyshev Quadrature integration for evaluating the refraction integral was adopted.
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Richard F. Olson, Richard F. Olson, } "Computing the total atmospheric refraction for real-time optical imaging sensor simulation", Proc. SPIE 9452, Infrared Imaging Systems: Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing XXVI, 945211 (12 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2179771; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2179771

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