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The Terra Vega Active Light Source: A First Step in a New Approach to Perform Nighttime Absolute Radiometric Calibrations and Early Results Calibrating the VIIRS DNB

1
Innovative Imaging and Research (I2R), Building 1103, Suite 140C, NASA Stennis Space Center, MS 39529, USA
2
South Dakota State University, Daktronics Engineering Hall, 1250 8th Street, Brookings, SD 57007, USA
3
NOAA/NESDIS (National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service)/STAR (Center for Satellite Applications and Research), NCWCP (NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction) E/RA2, 5830 University Research Ct., Suite 2838, College Park, MD 20740, USA
4
Global Science & Technology, Inc., NCWCP, 5830 University Research Ct., Suite 2723, College Park, MD 20740, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(6), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11060710
Received: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 19 March 2019 / Published: 24 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Atmosphere Remote Sensing)
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PDF [5918 KB, uploaded 24 March 2019]
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Abstract

A fully automated, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-traceable artificial light source called Terra Vega has been developed to radiometrically calibrate the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer (VIIRS) Day Night Band (DNB) working in high gain stage (HGS) mode. The Terra Vega active point source is a calibrated integrating sphere that is only a fraction in size of a VIIRS DNB pixel. As such, it can be considered analogous to a ground-based photometric reference star. Vicarious calibrations that employ active point sources are different than those that make use of traditional extended sources and can be applyed to quantify the brightness of artificial light sources. The active source is successfully fielded, and early results indicate that it can be used to augment and validate the radiometric calibration of the VIIRS DNB HGS sensor on both the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) and NOAA-20 satellites. The VIIRS DNB HGS sensor can benefit from this technology as on-board calibration is challenging and hinges on transferring low gain stage (LGS) calibration using a solar diffuser to the medium gain stage (MGS) and HGS via regions of overlap. Current vicarious calibration methods that use a lunar-illuminated extended source estimate the HGS radiometric accuracy to within 8-15%. By comparison, early results and analysis showed that Terra Vega is stable to about 1%. Under clear dark night conditions, predicted top-of-atmosphere radiance from Terra Vega ranged between 1–11% of VIIRS measured values. Terra Vega’s excellent stability opens up new opportunities to validate and develop nighttime imaging applications based on point sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: radiometry; vicarious calibration; NPP; JPSS-1; NOAA-20; VIIRS; DNB; night imaging; point source radiometry; vicarious calibration; NPP; JPSS-1; NOAA-20; VIIRS; DNB; night imaging; point source
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Ryan, R.E.; Pagnutti, M.; Burch, K.; Leigh, L.; Ruggles, T.; Cao, C.; Aaron, D.; Blonski, S.; Helder, D. The Terra Vega Active Light Source: A First Step in a New Approach to Perform Nighttime Absolute Radiometric Calibrations and Early Results Calibrating the VIIRS DNB. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 710.

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