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Theory of anisotropic refractive scintillation - Application to stellar occultations by Neptune
Narayan, Ramesh; Hubbard, W. B.
AA(Steward Observatory, Tucson, AZ), AB(Arizona, University, Tucson, AZ)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 325, Feb. 1, 1988, p. 503-518. (ApJ Homepage)
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NASA/STI Keywords:
Atmospheric Refraction, Neptune Atmosphere, Scintillation, Stellar Occultation, Anisotropy, Atmospheric Density, Isotropic Media
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A theory of refractive scintillation due to a thin phase-changing screen with an anisotropic power-law spectrum of phase fluctuations is presented. Scintillation theory for an isotropic medium is discussed, and anisotropy of the mean density and anisotropy in the scattering are discussed. The theory of refractive scintillation in an anisotropic medium is developed, deriving a general expression for the cross-correlation of flux variations at two points on the 'observer screen'. From this, estimates of the coherence lengths and amplitudes of flux variations are obtained for important parameter regimes. The application of the theory to the analysis of two occultations by Neptune is addressed. The projected dimensions of the occulting stars, a normalization constant to describe the phase fluctuations, and an anisotropy parameter are determined, and the theory is shown to agree well with observation. The significance of the theory for understanding of the physics of Neptune's atmosphere is discussed.

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