Abstract

The visible infrared imaging radiometer suite on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite calibrates its reflective solar bands through observations of a sunlit solar diffuser (SD) panel. Sunlight passes through a perforated plate, referred to as the SD screen, before reaching the SD. It is critical to know whether the SD screen transmittance measured prelaunch is accurate. Several factors such as misalignments of the SD panel and the measurement apparatus could lead to errors in the measured transmittance and thus adversely impact on-orbit calibration quality through the SD. We develop a mathematical model to describe the transmittance as a function of the angles that incident light makes with the SD screen, and apply the model to fit the prelaunch measured transmittance. The results reveal that the model does not reproduce the measured transmittance unless the size of the apertures in the SD screen is quite different from the design value. We attribute the difference to the orientation alignment errors for the SD panel and the measurement apparatus. We model the alignment errors and apply our transmittance model to fit the prelaunch transmittance to retrieve the “true” transmittance. To use this model correctly, we also examine the finite source size effect on the transmittance. Furthermore, we compare the product of the retrieved “true” transmittance and the prelaunch SD bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) value to the value derived from on-orbit data to determine whether the prelaunch SD BRDF value is relatively accurate. The model is significant in that it can evaluate whether the SD screen transmittance measured prelaunch is accurate and help retrieve the true transmittance from the transmittance with measurement errors, consequently resulting in a more accurate sensor data product by the same amount.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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