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Preliminary study for improving the VIIRS DNB low light calibration accuracy with ground based active light source,” Proc. of SPIE Optics and Photonics,



Yuqin Zong, XI Shao, Changyong Cao, Yan Bai


There is a growing interest in the science and user community in the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/Night Band (DNB) low light detection capabilities at night for quantitative applications such as airglow, geophysical retrievals under lunar illumination, light power estimation, search and rescue, energy use, urban expansion and other human activities. Given the growing interest in the use of the DNB data, a pressing need arises for improving the calibration stability and absolute accuracy of the DNB at low radiances. Currently the low light calibration accuracy was estimated at a moderate 15%-100% while the long-term stability has yet to be characterized. This study investigates selected existing night light point sources from Suomi NPP DNB observations and evaluates the feasibility of SI traceable nightlight source at radiance levels near 3 nW·cm−2·sr−1, that potentially can be installed at selected sites for VIIRS DNB calibration/validation. The illumination geometry, surrounding environment, as well as atmospheric effects are also discussed. The uncertainties of the ground based light source are estimated. This study will contribute to the understanding of how the Earth’s atmosphere and surface variability contribute to the stability of the DNB measured radiances, and how to separate them from instrument calibration stability. It presents the need for SI traceable active light sources to monitor the calibration stability, radiometric and geolocation accuracy, and point spread functions of the DNB. Finally, it is also hoped to address whether or not active light sources can be used for detecting environmental changes, such as aerosols.
Proceedings Title
SPIE Optics and Photonics
Conference Dates
August 9-13, 2015
Conference Location
San Diego, CA
Conference Title
Earth Observing Systems XX


Suomi NPP VIIRS DNB, Night light stability, Ground based light sources


Zong, Y. , Shao, X. , Cao, C. and Bai, Y. (2015), Preliminary study for improving the VIIRS DNB low light calibration accuracy with ground based active light source,” Proc. of SPIE Optics and Photonics,, SPIE Optics and Photonics, San Diego, CA, [online], (Accessed May 27, 2024)


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Created September 8, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018