The Spectral Irradiance of the Moon

  • Kieffer H
  • Stone T
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Images of the Moon at 32 wavelengths from 350 to 2450 nm have been obtained from a dedicated
observatory during the bright half of each month over a period of several years. The ultimate goal
is to develop a spectral radiance model of the Moon with an angular resolution and radiometric
accuracy appropriate for calibration of Earth-orbiting spacecraft. An empirical model of irradiance
has been developed that treats phase and libration explicitly, with absolute scale founded on the
spectra of the star Vega and returned Apollo samples. A selected set of 190 standard stars are
observed regularly to provide nightly extinction correction and long-term calibration of the
observations. The extinction model is wavelength-coupled and based on the absorption coefficients of
a number of gases and aerosols. The empirical irradiance model has the same form at each wavelength,
with 18 coefficients, eight of which are constant across wavelength, for a total of 328
coefficients. Over 1000 lunar observations are fitted at each wavelength; the average residual is
less than 1%. The irradiance model is actively being used in lunar calibration of several spacecraft
instruments and can track sensor response changes at the 0.1% level.

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  • Hugh H. Kieffer

  • Thomas C. Stone

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