The technique of Fabry–Perot CCD annular-summing spectroscopy, with particular emphasis on applications in aeronomy, is discussed. Parameter choices for optimizing performance by the use of a standard format CCD array are detailed. Spectral calibration methods, techniques for determining the ring pattern center, and effects imposed by limited radial resolution caused by superpixel size, variable by on-chip binning, are demonstrated. The technique is carefully evaluated experimentally relative to the conventional scanning Fabry–Perot that uses a photomultiplier detector. We evaluate three extreme examples typical of aeronomical spectroscopy using calculated signal-to-noise ratios. Predicted sensitivity gains of 10–30 are typical. Of the cases considered, the largest savings in integration time are estimated for the day sky thermospheric O1D case, in which the bright sky background dominates the CCD read noise. For profile measurements of faint night sky emission lines, such as exospheric hydrogen Balmer-α, long integration times are required to achieve useful signal-to-noise ratios. In such cases, CCD read noise is largely overcome. Predictions of a factor of 10–15 savings in integration time for night sky Balmer-α observations are supported by field tests. Bright, isolated night sky lines such as thermospheric O1D require shorter integration times, and more modest gains dependent on signal level are predicted. For such cases it appears from estimate results that the Fabry–Perot CCD annular-summing technique with a conventional rectangular format may be outperformed by a factor of 2–5 by special CCD formats or by unusual optical coupling configurations that reduce the importance of read noise, based on the ideal transmission for any additional optics used in these configurations.
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