On-orbit optical sensors are the primary data source for the remote sensing community. A rigorous pre-flight characterization and calibration is a key to the success of their mission. Indeed, preliminary calibration and correction factors are determined during this process. As part of this process, prior to the launch of NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) its polarization sensitivity was measured. In this work, our goal was to simulate these measurements using computer ray tracing software. Based on that, we could evaluate the evolution of the different coatings (Mirror, Beam splitters, Anti-reflection and Band pass filters) due to degradation over time. We were able to simulate the measurements and obtained what the theoretical polarization sensitivity should be. The results were compared to the pre-launch measurements and an analysis of the whole MODIS optical system was performed in order to explain these differences. A full description of the MODIS polarization ray tracing procedure along with a discussion on the results and their implications on past, present and future work will be given.
Sun photometers are used to characterize the radiative properties of the atmosphere. They measure both the incident solar irradiance as well as the sky radiance (from scattered incident flux). Global networks of sun photometers provide data products such as aerosol optical thickness derived from these measurements. Instruments are typically calibrated for irradiance responsivity by cross-calibration against a primary reference sun photometer and for radiance responsivity using a lamp-illuminated integrating sphere source. A laser-based facility for Spectral Irradiance and Radiance Responsivity Calibrations using Uniform Sources (SIRCUS) has been developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Sensors can be calibrated in this facility for absolute spectral irradiance and radiance responsivity with combined expanded (<i>k </i>= 2) uncertainties ranging from 0.15% to 0.25%. Two multi-channel filter radiometers used in the Sensor Intercomparison and Merger for Biological and Interdisciplinary Oceanic Studies (SIMBIOS) program of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) were calibrated for radiance and irradiance responsivity using conventional approaches and using laser-illuminated integrating spheres on SIRCUS. The different calibration methods are compared, the uncertainties are evaluated, and the impact on remote sensing applications is discussed.