Atmospheric Refraction of Light from Nearby Objects in Space
NAVAL OBSERVATORY WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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This note describes a minor issue in computing astronomical refraction, which is that refraction depends on the distance of the observed object, at least for objects very close to the Earth. In practice, the effect is important mainly for optical observations of satellites in low Earth orbit, but even for them, the difference in refraction amounts to only a few arcseconds. If the usual algorithms for astronomical refraction for objects at infinity are used, simple correction formulas are available for the nearby objects.
- Spacecraft Trajectories and Reentry