Using stars for remote sensing of the Earth’s stratosphere

A new UV–visible spectrometer system that measures the absorption of light from stars and planets by constituents in the Earth’s atmosphere is described. Because it can be used to make measurements at night, the system has a significant advantage for measuring polar constituents in winter, when conditions that might give rise to ozone loss are initiated. Other advantages arise from the use of a cooled two-dimensional CCD array as the detector: an array detector avoids spectral noise resulting from scintillation of stars or from clouds passing overhead and allows for the possibility of measuring several constituents simultaneously; its second dimension permits auroral light from the atmosphere adjacent to the star to be measured simultaneously and subtracted from the stellar light, and a modern low-noise CCD allows us to use a telescope of modest diameter. The few previous measurements of constituents made by the use of stellar absorption did not have these advantages. The instrument was configured for simplicity and ease of use in field measurements and was deployed outside in winter in Northern Sweden in 1991. Examples of ozone measurements are shown.


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Authors: Roscoe, Howard K., Freshwater, R. A., Wolfenden, R., Jones, R. L., Fish, D. J., Harries, J. E., South, A. M., Oldham, D. J.

On this site: Howard Roscoe
1 January, 1994
Applied Optics / 33
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