J23.5 Atmospheric Temperature Sensing through Star Field Imaging on a Small Satellite

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 9:30 AM
Room 9AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Zach Burns, Brandywine Photonics, Exton, PA; and D. Guerin, J. Fisher, J. Julian, and L. L. Gordley

Advances in focal plane arrays and small satellite pointing systems are enabling new atmospheric measurements from Small Satellites. We illustrate one such innovative technology called T-STAR. T-STAR is an instrument designed to measure temperature fields above the cloud-top by observing the star field as it sets or rises relative to a balloon or orbiting satellite carrying the sensor. It is based on a patented method of using the measured vertical separation of two celestial points to determin light bending (refraction) angles as the two points are occulted. This technique is operational on the SOFIE solar occultation instrument aboard the AIM satellite, where the two points are, effectively, the top and bottom edges of the solar image. The apparent vertical (i.e. perpendicular to earth surface) angular separation of the points is measured continuously, providing a direct measure of bending angle as a function ray tangent altitude, given orbit knowledge. From this measurement, very accurate vertical temperature profiles can be derived. Besides their direct value as temperature measurements, these profiles can be used as an ideal calibration system for thermal temperature sounders. In this paper, we shall detail the instrument design, small satellite requirements, and simulation of measurements (altitude range, sensitivity, and accuracy.)

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner