Pulkovo astronomical refraction

Version 1.0.1 (515 KB) by Jens
Function returns astronomical standard refraction as function of apparent zenith distance. Digitized from Abalakin, V. (1985).
Updated 25 Oct 2023

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Digitized, corrected and smoothed (rounding) Pulkovo tables* for astronomical refraction, endorsed by the IAU as standard reference. Reproduces the table values to better than 1 unit in the last digit (+/-5e-6 in log(r0/arcsec) or 1.15e-5*r0 in absolute values), mostly significantly better due to smoothing the rounding steps. Result can be given to 0.001 .. 0.01 arcsec.
The processed table values are read in from a mat file and interpolated (spline). Slight extrapolation beyond z=90° is possible.
Returns r0 in arcsec with z, the apparent zenith distance, in deg. 0<=z<=90°.
*Abalakin, V. (1985). Fifth edition is the latest edition. It gives log10(r0) every 1 arcmin from 0°0' to 90°0' apparent zenith distance. For other conditions, the values need to be corrected. Planned for a later version of this function.
Result refers to standard conditions: 1013.25 mbar atmospheric pressure, +15°C air temperature, water vapour pressure 0 mbar (dry air), wavelength 590 nm, 45° geographical latitude, 0 m height above sea level. Typos corrected! Especially at z=90° corrected to 1976.28" instead of 1977.97", 1.69" smaller! (not at 89° 59'!). This is consistent to Lovchy, I. (2021). See also Kurzyńska, K. (1988).

Cite As

Jens (2024). Pulkovo astronomical refraction (https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/153401-pulkovo-astronomical-refraction), MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

Abalakin, V. (1985). "Refraction Tables of Pulkovo Observatory." Refraction Tables of Pulkovo Observatory.. VK Abalakin (Editor). Fifth edition. Central Astronomical Observatory. Lovchy, I. (2021). "Calculation of refraction angles for various spherically layered atmospheric models." Journal of Optical Technology 88(2): 60-65. Kurzyńska, K. (1988). "On the accuracy of the Refraction Tables of Pulkovo Observatory." Astronomische Nachrichten 309(3): 213-217.

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2023b
Compatible with R2006a and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux

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Version Published Release Notes

Added a text file with the smoothed Pulkovo z, lg(r0) and r0 values, Abalkin1985_Refraction tables of Pulkovo observatory_5h ed., smoothed.txt