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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

In-flight validation of SPEX airborne spectro-polarimeter onboard NASA's research aircraft ER-2
Author(s): J. Martijn Smit; Jeroen H. H. Rietjens; Antonio di Noia; Otto P. Hasekamp; Wouter Laauwen; Brian Cairns; Bastiaan van Diedenhoven; A. Wasilewski

Paper Abstract

High accuracy multi-angle polarimetry is of crucial importance for remote sensing of aerosol and cloud properties with accuracies demanded by climate and air quality studies. In this contribution, we provide an detailed description of the multi-angle spectro-polarimetric instrument “SPEX airborne” that was developed to operate from NASA’s high altitude research aircraft ER-2. SPEX airborne delivers measurements of radiance and linear polarization at nine fixed viewports with angles equally distributed over at total angular range of 112°, at visual wavelength in the range 400-760nm. Each viewport acts as a pushbroom spectrometer with a swath of 6°. SPEX airborne participated in the recent the ACEPOL campaign in October-November 2017 when it flew together with NASA’s Research Scanning Polarimeter (RSP), the Airborne Multiangle SpectroPolarimetric Imager (AirMSPI), and the Airborne Hyper-Angular Rainbow Polarimeter (AirHARP). We compare polarimetric and radiometric measurements from SPEX airborne with those collected by RSP at four visible wavelength bands. Simultaneous measurements were made while flying over widely different scenes, under different illumination and meteorological conditions. This provided a large dynamic range in radiometric and polarimetric values. We find that the Degree of Linear Polarization (DoLP) measured by both instruments agrees well with a RMS differences of ~0.005 as the best result for 555nm. For radiance measurements excellent agreement is obtained with a RMS difference of ~4%. The in-flight comparison results provide verification of SPEX airborne’s capability to deliver high-quality data.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2019
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 11180, International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018, 111800N (12 July 2019);
Show Author Affiliations
J. Martijn Smit, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Jeroen H. H. Rietjens, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Antonio di Noia, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Otto P. Hasekamp, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Wouter Laauwen, SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research (Netherlands)
Brian Cairns, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (United States)
Bastiaan van Diedenhoven, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (United States)
A. Wasilewski, Goddard Institute for Space Studies (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11180:
International Conference on Space Optics — ICSO 2018
Zoran Sodnik; Nikos Karafolas; Bruno Cugny, Editor(s)

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