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The Moon is the only natural object outside the Earth's atmosphere that is within the dynamic range of most imaging instruments on Earth-orbiting spacecraft. The excellent photometric stability of the Lunar surface will allow its use as a long-term instrument calibration source once the dependence of Lunar spectral radiance on phase and libration angles are well characterized. A program to provide this characterization is underway. Observations are being made in 23 bands within 350-950 nm, 7 of which correspond closely with spacecraft instrument bands. Observations in nine bands within 950-2500 nm began recently. Although at this time the absolute Lunar radiance model is preliminary and uncertainties are larger than most instrument calibration goals, changes in spacecraft instrument sensitivity can be precisely monitored and absolute calibration can be applied retroactively as the accuracy of the Lunar spectral radiance model improves. Several space-based imaging systems have already begun using the Moon for calibration and the EOS AM-1 platform will make periodic attitude maneuvers for Lunar and space calibration.
Additional Publication Details
Use of the Moon for spacecraft calibration over 350-2500 nm
Bellingham, WA, United States
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Proceedings of the 1998 Conference on Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites II