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Proceedings Paper

Characterization of atmospheric degradation of IR scene content (Invited Paper)
Author(s): Wendell R. Watkins; Jay B. Jordan
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Paper Abstract

For horizontal path observation, atmospheric scene degradation of high resolution infrared (IR) imagery is more than an extinction coefficient derived from LOWTRAN calculations. The reduction in ability to distinguish scene features has three main sources. First, variation of the inherent radiation from the objects and backgrounds in the scene can cause decreased contrast. Second, the measured contrast from distant observation locations can be reduced by attenuation losses due to atmospheric propagation (contrast transmission) and path radiance that cannot be reestablished through sensor gain changes alone. Finally, blurring and distortion of scene details are also caused by thermal and humidity gradient induced optical turbulence and aerosol scattering. The Mobile Imaging Spectroscopy Laboratory (MISL) of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory was used to measure inherent scene dynamics and contrast transmission. Measurements useful for estimating the short and long exposure atmospheric modulation transfer function (MTF) in the IR were also made. An essential element of these measurements is a unique large area (1.8 m by 1.8 m) uniform temperature blackbody with spatial bar patterns. The measurements presented illustrate the dramatic interdependence of inherent contrast changes, contrast transmission, and atmospheric MTF.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 August 1993
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1971, 8th Meeting on Optical Engineering in Israel: Optical Engineering and Remote Sensing, (13 August 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.151027
Show Author Affiliations
Wendell R. Watkins, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Jay B. Jordan, New Mexico State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1971:
8th Meeting on Optical Engineering in Israel: Optical Engineering and Remote Sensing

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