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An optical system with astigmatism is one

where rays that propagate in two
perpendicular planes have different foci.
However these artifacts are not as sensitive to
aperture size and depend more strongly on the
oblique angle of the light beam.
Astigmatism 2, where is the angle between the
rays from the object and the optical axis.
The B3 term corresponds to astigmatism. This term
depends upon h2 so it becomes more important as
the object point moves farther away from the axis.

The tangential plane (also called the meridional
plane) contains the chief ray and the optical axis of
the lens (or lens system), while the sagittal
plane (also called the radial and/or equitorial plane)
contains only the chief ray and is positioned
perpendicular to the tangential plane.
The chief ray is defined as a special ray emanating
from an off-axis point light source that passes
through the center of the lens entrance pupil. In an
optical system that is aberration-free, the chief ray
will also pass through the center of the aperture
diaphragm and the exit pupil of the lens.

Astigmatism is due to the asymmetry between
the rays in the meridional (the plane
containing the optical axis and the object
point) and sagittal (the plane perpendicular to
the meridional plane which contains the chief
ray) planes. The meridional rays intercept the
lens at a larger angle than the sagittal rays, so
they are bent more (and thus focus more
sharply for a positive lens).

Light rays lying in the tangential and sagittal planes
are refracted differently and both sets of rays
intersect the chief ray at different image points,
termed the tangential line image(tangential focal
plane) and the sagittal line image (sagittal focal
These rays fail to produce a focused image point, but
rather produce a series of elongated images ranging
from linear to elliptical, depending upon the position
within the optical train.

In a zone known as the circle of least confusion,
positioned between the tangential line image and
the sagittal line image, the major and minor axes
of the ellipse are equal and the image approaches
a circular geometry. These concepts are
illustrated in Figure , which presents the principal
axes of the tangential and sagittal light rays, the
circle of least confusion, and shows approximate
Airy patterns at strategic locations in the

Anamorphic lenses (lenses without cylindrical
symmetry about the opticalaxis) may be used to
correct astigmatism (cylindrical lenses for example).