Title: On-Orbit Absolute Radiance Standard for Future IR Remote Sensing Instruments
Author: Fred Best
Organization: University of Wisconsin Space Science & Engineering Center
Co-Authors: Henry E. Revercomb (PI), Robert O. Knuteson, Douglas P. Adler, P. Jonathan Gero, Claire Pettersen, Joseph K. Taylor
Future NASA infrared remote sensing missions, including the climate benchmark CLARREO mission will require better absolute measurement accuracy than now available, and will most certainly rely on the emerging capability to fly SI traceable standards that provide irrefutable absolute measurement accuracy. As an example, instrumentation designed to measure spectrally resolved infrared radiances with an absolute brightness temperature error of better than 0.1 K will require high-emissivity (>0.999) calibration blackbodies with emissivity uncertainty of better than 0.06%, and absolute temperature uncertainties of better than 0.045K (3 sigma). Key elements of an On-Orbit Absolute Radiance Standard (OARS) meeting these stringent requirements have been demonstrated in the laboratory at the University of Wisconsin and are undergoing further refinement under the NASA Instrument Incubator Program (IIP). This work will culminate with an integrated subsystem that can provide on-orbit end-to-end radiometric accuracy validation for infrared remote sensing instruments. We present the new technologies that underlie the OARS and the results of laboratory testing that demonstrate the required accuracy is being met. The underlying technologies include on-orbit absolute temperature calibration using the transient melt signatures of small quantities (<1g) of reference materials (gallium, water, and mercury) imbedded in the blackbody cavity; and on-orbit cavity spectral emissivity measurement using a heated halo. For these emissivity measurements, a carefully baffled heated cylinder is placed in front of a blackbody in the infrared spectrometer system, and the combined radiance of the blackbody and Heated Halo reflection is observed. Knowledge of key temperatures and the viewing geometry allow the blackbody cavity spectral emissivity to be calculated.