Abstract

Visual observations from space reveal a number of fascinating natural phenomena of interest to meteorologists and aeronomists, such as aurorae, airglow, aerosol layers, lightning, and atmospheric refraction effects. Other man-made radiation, including city lights and laser beacons, are also of considerable interest. Of course, the most widely used space observations are of the large-scale weather systems viewed each day by millions of people on their local television. From lower altitudes than the geostationary meteorological satellite orbits, obliques and overlapping stereo views are possible, allow height information to be obtained directly, often a key element in the use of the photographs for research purposes. However, this note will discuss only the less common observations mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph.

© 1979 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Some results of Skylab experiment S063.” in Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite, Prog. Astronaut. and Aeronaut. 48, 211–221 (1976).
  2. Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Exploring the earth’s atmosphere by photography from Skylab,” Appl. Opt. 16, 983–992 (1977).
    [PubMed]
  3. Thomas A. Croft, “Nighttime images of the earth from space,” Sci. Am. 239, 86–98 (July, 1978).
    [CrossRef]
  4. Kenneth R. Piech and John R. Schott, “Evaluation of Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Imagery,” Final Report, Calspan Corp., Buffalo, NY, March1975 (unpublished).
  5. Jack L. Bufton, Louis O. Caudill, Thomas E. McGunigal, and Kenneth R. Piech, “Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Results and Analysis,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1180–1183 (1979).
    [CrossRef]
  6. T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).
  7. William P. Chu, “Analytical Solutions to the Refraction Integral for Spacecraft Remote Sensing Applications,” paper at Meteorological Optics Meeting of the Optical Society of America, Keystone, CO, August 28, 1978 (unpublished).
  8. Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
    [CrossRef]

1979 (1)

1978 (1)

Thomas A. Croft, “Nighttime images of the earth from space,” Sci. Am. 239, 86–98 (July, 1978).
[CrossRef]

1977 (1)

1976 (1)

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Some results of Skylab experiment S063.” in Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite, Prog. Astronaut. and Aeronaut. 48, 211–221 (1976).

1975 (1)

Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
[CrossRef]

Adams, R. R.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Bufton, Jack L.

Caudill, Louis O.

Chu, W. P.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Chu, William P.

William P. Chu, “Analytical Solutions to the Refraction Integral for Spacecraft Remote Sensing Applications,” paper at Meteorological Optics Meeting of the Optical Society of America, Keystone, CO, August 28, 1978 (unpublished).

Croft, Thomas A.

Thomas A. Croft, “Nighttime images of the earth from space,” Sci. Am. 239, 86–98 (July, 1978).
[CrossRef]

Crumbly, K. H.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Fuller, W. H.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Giovane, Frank

Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
[CrossRef]

Mayo Greenberg, J.

Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
[CrossRef]

McCormick, M. P.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

McGunigal, Thomas E.

Packer, Donald M.

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Exploring the earth’s atmosphere by photography from Skylab,” Appl. Opt. 16, 983–992 (1977).
[PubMed]

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Some results of Skylab experiment S063.” in Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite, Prog. Astronaut. and Aeronaut. 48, 211–221 (1976).

Packer, Irene G.

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Exploring the earth’s atmosphere by photography from Skylab,” Appl. Opt. 16, 983–992 (1977).
[PubMed]

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Some results of Skylab experiment S063.” in Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite, Prog. Astronaut. and Aeronaut. 48, 211–221 (1976).

Pepin, T. J.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Piech, Kenneth R.

Jack L. Bufton, Louis O. Caudill, Thomas E. McGunigal, and Kenneth R. Piech, “Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Results and Analysis,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 1180–1183 (1979).
[CrossRef]

Kenneth R. Piech and John R. Schott, “Evaluation of Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Imagery,” Final Report, Calspan Corp., Buffalo, NY, March1975 (unpublished).

Schott, John R.

Kenneth R. Piech and John R. Schott, “Evaluation of Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Imagery,” Final Report, Calspan Corp., Buffalo, NY, March1975 (unpublished).

Schuerman, Donald W.

Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
[CrossRef]

Simon, F.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Swissler, T. J.

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

Appl. Opt. (1)

J. Appl. Meteorol. (1)

Donald W. Schuerman, Frank Giovane, and J. Mayo Greenberg, “Stellar refraction: a tool to monitor the height of the tropopause from space,” J. Appl. Meteorol. 14, 1182–1186 (1975).
[CrossRef]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Sci. Am. (1)

Thomas A. Croft, “Nighttime images of the earth from space,” Sci. Am. 239, 86–98 (July, 1978).
[CrossRef]

Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite (1)

Donald M. Packer and Irene G. Packer, “Some results of Skylab experiment S063.” in Scientific Investigations on the Skylab Satellite, Prog. Astronaut. and Aeronaut. 48, 211–221 (1976).

Other (3)

Kenneth R. Piech and John R. Schott, “Evaluation of Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Imagery,” Final Report, Calspan Corp., Buffalo, NY, March1975 (unpublished).

T. J. Pepin, M. P. McCormick, W. P. Chu, F. Simon, T. J. Swissler, R. R. Adams, K. H. Crumbly, and W. H. Fuller, “Stratospheric Aerosol Measurements (MA-007),” ASTP Summary Science Report, NASA SP-412, 127–136 (1977).

William P. Chu, “Analytical Solutions to the Refraction Integral for Spacecraft Remote Sensing Applications,” paper at Meteorological Optics Meeting of the Optical Society of America, Keystone, CO, August 28, 1978 (unpublished).

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Figures (8)

FIG. 1
FIG. 1

Long, auroral arc, photographed at 1843 UT on 11 September 1973, looking toward the southern auroral zone. Normal airglow is seen in the relatively thin shell, parallel to the earth’s horizon. Airglow appears distinctly different from the auroral arc. (NASA photograph SL3-130-3130)

FIG. 2
FIG. 2

Same auroral arc shown in Fig. 1, but photographed about one minute later. This view is more nearly parallel to the arc, producing a very convoluted shape. The exposure time was apparently reduced as airglow is only faintly visible at the left, brighter auroral emission extends to the right; Antares is the bright star at the top of the picture. (SL3-130-3131)

FIG. 3
FIG. 3

City lights and nighttime aurora as recorded by the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite on 18 April 1974. (Croft, 1978)

FIG. 4
FIG. 4

Refraction through an exponential atmosphere.

FIG. 5
FIG. 5

Exit angle (δ) vs elevation angle (), from which the vertical compression of an image can be measured.

PLATE 113
PLATE 113

(Owen K. Garriott, p. 1064). Auroral and airglow bands viewed as sunrise approaches at about 2325 UT on 11 September1973. The emission layers can readily be identified by their colors. The Earth horizon is better defined here than in most night-timephotographs, as the sun is just beginning to illuminate the lower troposphere in a characteristic orange band. Layer altitudes are givenin the text. (SL3-130-3140).

PLATE 114
PLATE 114

(Owen K. Garriott, p. 1064). Sunset photograph obtained on the third Skylab mission using a 300-mmlens and hand-held Nikon camera. Refraction in the Earth’s atmosphere has compressed the vertical dimension ofthe sun by a factor of about 6 (see text). At least five distinct thin layers can be seen high in the stratosphere, approximately1-km thick and extending as high as 33 km.

PLATE 115
PLATE 115

(Owen K. Garriott, p. 1064). Sunrise photograph similar to the preceding plate showing a distinct scattering layer at an altitude of about 26 km. Numerous clouds in the troposphere make the horizon difficult to locate precisely, but it appears to be near the lower limb of the solar disk.

Equations (10)

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δ = α .
δ u = δ l 32
axis ratio = Δ δ Δ = 32 u l ,
C = sin β n d n d h ,
n = 1 + N 0 = 1 + ( 292.6 × 10 6 ) ,
α ray C d s d d h ( N g + e ( h h g ) / H d s ) ,
( h h g ) s 2 / 2 ρ g
α d d h [ ( 2 π ρ g H ) 1 / 2 N 0 e h g / H ]
( 2 π ρ 0 / H ) 1 / 2 N 0 e h g / H .
α = 70.35 m ¯ .