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Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Vol. 30, Iss. 4 — Feb. 1, 1991
  • pp: 435–442

Terrestrial polarization imagery obtained from the Space Shuttle: characterization and interpretation

Walter G. Egan, W. R. Johnson, and V. S. Whitehead  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 30, Issue 4, pp. 435-442 (1991)

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An experiment to measure the polarization of land, sea, haze, and cloud areas from space was carried aboard the Space Shuttle in Sept. 1985. Digitized polarimetric and photometric imagery in mutually perpendicular planes was derived in the red, green, and blue spectral regions from photographs taken with two synchronized Hasselblad cameras using type 5036 Ektachrome film. Digitization at the NASA Houston Video Digital Analysis Systems Laboratory permitted reduction of the imagery into equipolarimetric contours with a relative accuracy of ±20% for comparison to ground truth. The Island of Hawaii and adjacent sea and cloud areas were the objects of the specific imagery analyzed. Results show that cloud development is uniquely characterized using percent polarization without requiring precision photometric calibration. Furthermore, sea state and wind direction over the sea could be inferred as well as terrestrial soil texture.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

Original Manuscript: November 1, 1989
Published: February 1, 1991

Walter G. Egan, W. R. Johnson, and V. S. Whitehead, "Terrestrial polarization imagery obtained from the Space Shuttle: characterization and interpretation," Appl. Opt. 30, 435-442 (1991)

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