An Introduction to Space Instrumentation,
Edited by K. Oyama and C. Z. Cheng, pp. 25-31.
© TERRAPUB, 2013.
B. R. Clemesha, H. Takahashi, A. Eras, N. B. Lisboa, and D. Gobbi
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE, Brazil
Airglow consists of optical quantum emissions from excited atmospheric species produced by photochemical and ionic reactions in the mesosphere and thermosphere. Atomic and molecular oxygen, hydroxyl, metallic atoms and ions are some of the typical emissions. These emissions have been measured by ground-based photometers for many years, and have provided important information on atmospheric processes occurring in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. Although providing much useful information, ground-based measurements suffer from the fundamental limitation that they do not provide information on the vertical distribution of emission intensity. It is possible to overcome this limitation by launching photometers on board sounding rockets. In this way it is possible to measure the emission profile as the rocket passes through the emission layer. This article describes the techniques used for this type of measurement and provides some technical details of the instrumentation used.
Key words: Airglow, emission, photometer, rocket.