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A proposed global atmospheric monitoring networkbased on standard stars



Gerald T. Fraser, Steven W. Brown, Keith R. Lykke, John T. McGraw, Allan W. Smith, John T. Woodward IV, Peter C. Zimmer, Christopher W. Stubbs


The feasibility of developing a network of telescopes to monitor the composition of the nighttime atmosphere using stellar spectrophotometry is explored. Spectral measurements of the extinction of starlight by the atmosphere would allow, for instance, quantification of aerosol, cloud, water-vapor, and ozone levels over the full range of elevation and azimuth. These measurements when combined with data from solar spectrophotometry would provide continuous day/night monitoring of the atmospheric composition from the ground. The foundation for such an effort would be a set of stable standard stars with known top-of-the-atmosphere spectral irradiances traceable to international standards based on the SI system of units. Fully automated, reliable, easily maintained and highly cost-effective replicas of the spectrophotometric telescope used to calibrate the standard stars can be deployed worldwide at sites such as atmospheric and astronomical observatories.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Optics + Photonics 2009
Conference Dates
August 3-7, 2009
Conference Location
San Diego, CA, US


climate change, standard stars, spectrophotometry, stellar calibration


Fraser, G. , Brown, S. , Lykke, K. , McGraw, J. , Smith, A. , Woodward IV, J. , Zimmer, P. and Stubbs, C. (2009), A proposed global atmospheric monitoring networkbased on standard stars, Proceedings of the SPIE Conference on Optics + Photonics 2009, San Diego, CA, US, [online],, (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created November 2, 2009, Updated October 12, 2021