Images formed by an underwater object from light rays refracted in the sagittal and tangential planes are located at different positions for an oblique viewing position. The overlapping of these two images from the observer's perspective will thus prevent the image-splitting astigmatism from being directly observable. In this work, we present a heuristic method to experimentally visualize the astigmatism. A point light source is used as an underwater object and the emerging wave front is recorded using a Shack-Hartmann wave-front sensor. The wave front is found to deform from a circular paraboloid to an elliptic paraboloid as the viewing position changes from normal to oblique. Using geometric optics, we derive an analytical expression for the image position as a function of the rotating angle of an arm used to carry the wave-front sensor in our experimental setup. The measured results are seen to be in good agreement with the theoretical predictions.

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