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Radiometric Measurement Comparisons Using Transfer Radiometers in Support of the Calibration of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Sensors



James J. Butler, B. Carol Johnson, Steven W. Brown, Howard Yoon, R Barnes, B L. Markham, S F. Biggar, E F. Zalewski, P R. Spyak, J W. Cooper, F Sakuma


EOS satellite instruments operating in the visible through the shortwave infrared wavelength regions (from 0.4 um to 2.5 um) are calibrated prior to flight for radiance using integrating spheres at a number of instrument builder facilities. The traceability of the radiance produced by these spheres with respect to international standards is the responsibility of the instrument builder, and different calibration techniques are employed by those builders. The calibration techniques are employed by those builders. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Earth Observing System (EOS) Project Science Office, realizing the importance of preflight calibration and cross-calibration, has sponsored a number of radiometric measurement comparisons, the main purpose of which is to validate the radiometric scale assigned to the integrating spheres by the instrument builders. This paper describes the radiometric measurement comparisons, the use of stabletransfer radiometers to perform the measurements, and the measurement approaches and protocols used to validate integrating sphere radiances. Stable transfer radiometers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the University of Arizona Optical Sciences Center Remote Sensing Group, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the National Research Laboratory of Metrology in Japan, have participated in these comparisons. The approaches used in the comparisons include the measurement of multiple integrating sphere lamp levels, repeat measurements of select lamp levels, the use of stable radiometers as sphere monitors, and the rapid reporting of measurement results. Results from several comparisons are presented. The absolute radiometric calibration standard uncertainties required by the EOS satellite instruments are typically in the 3 % to 5 % range. Preliminary results reported during eleven radiometric measurement comparisons held between February 1995 and May 1998 have shown the radiance of integrating spheres to within 2.5 % from the average at blue wavelengths and to within 1.7 % from the average at red and near infrared wavelengths. This level of agrement lends confidence in the use of the transfer radiometers in validating the radiance scales assigned by EOS instrument calibration facilities to their integrating sphere sources.
SPIE International Society for Optical Engineering


calibration, integrating spheres, radiance, transfer radiometers


Butler, J. , Johnson, B. , Brown, S. , Yoon, H. , Barnes, R. , Markham, B. , Biggar, S. , Zalewski, E. , Spyak, P. , Cooper, J. and Sakuma, F. (1999), Radiometric Measurement Comparisons Using Transfer Radiometers in Support of the Calibration of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) Sensors, SPIE International Society for Optical Engineering (Accessed December 5, 2023)
Created August 31, 1999, Updated October 12, 2021