A letter to the Journal of the Optical Society of America, deriving expressions for the dependence of the modulation transfer function and phase structure function of an optical wave on the Kolmogorov turbulence parameters, and demonstrating that experimental measurements can be interpreted in terms of an outer scale of turbulence of the order 10-50 cm. These values can be expected under temperature inversion conditions such as typically exist after sunset, when most optical measurements are taken. For short optical paths, the medium does not limit the resolution obtainable. The performance of an optical heterodyne detector, which involves a double integral of the MTF over the receiving aperture, might be improved by employing larger receiver apertures, despite Fried's predictions. 11 pp. Refs. (MW)
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