To measure the thermal emission from stratospheric minor species with high sensitivity, the Superconducting Submillimeter-wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) aboard the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) of the International Space Station (ISS) carries 4 K cooled Superconductor–Insulator–Superconductor (SIS) mixers. The major feature of the SMILES is its high-sensitive measurement ability with low system noise temperature less than 700 K. As a part of the ground system for the SMILES, a level 2 data processing system (DPS-L2) has been developed. It retrieves the density distributions of the target species from calibrated spectra in near-real-time. The retrieval process consists of two parts: the forward model, which computes radiative transfer, and the inverse model, which deduces atmospheric states. Since the forward model must provide the most accurate basis for results and be implemented under limited computing resources, the forward model algorithm for an operational system has to be accurate and fast. Hence, the algorithm is improved (1) by designing accurate instrument functions such as the instrumental field of view (FOV), sideband rejection ratio of sideband separator, and spectral responses of acousto-optic spectrometer (AOS) and (2) by optimizing radiative transfer calculation. This paper presents the development of the DPS-L2 along with the details on its algorithm and the algorithm performance. The accuracy of this algorithm is better than 1%, and the processing time for single-scan spectra is less than 1 min with eight parallel processings using a 3.16-GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor. Thus, this algorithm is suitable for the SMILES measurement.
We estimate the capability of ozone (O3) retrieval with the Superconducting Submillimeter-Wave Limb-Emission Sounder (SMILES) instrument attached to the Exposed Facility of the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) on the International Space Station (ISS). SMILES carries a 4-K mechanical refrigerator to cool superconducting devices in space. Since SMILES has high sensitivity thanks to the superconducting receiver, it is expected that SMILES has ability to retrieve O3 profiles more precisely than the previous millimeter–submillimeter limb measurements from satellites. We examine the random error and the systematic error of O3 vertical profiles based on the launch-ready retrieval algorithm developed for SMILES. The best random error with single-scan spectra is 0.4% at an altitude of 30 km with 3 km vertical resolution in the mid-latitudes. The random error is better than 5% in the altitude region from 15 to 70 km in the nighttime and from 15 to 55 km in the daytime with 3 km vertical resolution in the mid-latitudes. By averaging ten profiles, the random error is improved to 1% at 70 km altitude in the nighttime and to 5% in the daytime. Using SMILES, we expect to determine the diurnal variation of O3 vertical profiles with high precision in the upper stratosphere. Finally, the retrieval capability of O3 in the lower stratosphere is estimated. When retrieving spectral data using two receiver bands (624.32–626.32 GHz and 649.12–650.32 GHz) the random error above 13 km in the mid-latitudes and above 15 km in the tropics is expected to be better than 5% under clear sky conditions.
On 7 February 2008, the SOLAR payload was placed onboard the International Space Station. It is composed of three instruments, two spectrometers and a radiometer. The two spectrometers allow us to cover the 16 – 2900 nm spectral range. In this article, we first briefly present the instrumentation, its calibration and its performance in orbit. Second, the solar spectrum measured during the transition between Solar Cycles 23 to 24 at the time of the minimum is shown and compared with other data sets. Its accuracy is estimated as a function of wavelength and the solar atmosphere brightness-temperature is calculated and compared with those derived from two theoretical models.
SOLAR/SOLSPEC: Scientific Objectives, Instrument Performance and Its Absolute Calibration Using a Blackbody as Primary Standard Source
SOLAR is a set of three solar instruments measuring the total and spectral absolute irradiance from 16 nm to 3080 nm for solar, atmospheric and climatology physics. It is an external payload for the COLUMBUS laboratory launched on 7 February 2008. The mission’s primary objective is the measurement of the solar irradiance with the highest possible accuracy, and its variability using the following instruments: SOL-ACES (SOLar Auto-Calibrating EUV/UV Spectrophotometers) consists of four grazing incidence planar gratings measuring from 16 nm to 220 nm; SOLSPEC (SOLar SPECtrum) consists of three double gratings spectrometers, covering the range 165 nm to 3080 nm; and SOVIM (SOlar Variability Irradiance Monitor) is combining two types of absolute radiometers and three-channel filter – radiometers. SOLSPEC and SOL-ACES have been calibrated by primary standard radiation sources of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB). Below we describe SOLSPEC, and its performance.
Analysis of Different Solar Spectral Irradiance Reconstructions and Their Impact on Solar Heating Rates
Proper numerical simulation of the Earth’s climate change requires reliable knowledge of solar irradiance and its variability on different time scales, as well as the wavelength dependence of this variability. As new measurements of the solar spectral irradiance have become available, so too have new reconstructions of historical solar irradiance variations, based on different approaches. However, these various solar spectral irradiance reconstructions have not yet been compared in detail to quantify differences in their absolute values, variability, and implications for climate and atmospheric studies. In this paper we quantitatively compare five different reconstructions of solar spectral irradiance changes during the past four centuries, in order to document and analyze their differences. The impact on atmosphere and climate studies is discussed in terms of the calculation of short wave solar heating rates.
The primary objective of the ISS-SOLAR mission on Columbus (to be launched in 2006) is the quasi-continuous measurement of the solar irradiance variability with highest possible accuracy. For this reason the total spectral range will be recorded simultaneously from 3000 to 17 nm by three sets of instruments: SOVIM is combining two types of absolute radiometers and three-channel filter radiometers. SOLSPEC is composed of three double monochromators using concave gratings, covering the wavelength range from 3000 to 180 nm. SOL-ACES has four grazing incidence planar grating spectrometers plus two three-signal ionization chambers (two signals from a two stage chamber plus a third signal from a silicon diode at the end of the chamber) with exchangeable band pass filters to determine the absolute fluxes from 220 to 17 nm repeatedly during the mission. For the TSI the relative standard uncertainty (RSU) to be achieved is of the order of 0.15% and for the SSI from 1% in the IR/Vis, 2% in the UV, 5% in the FUV up to 10% in the XUV spectral regions. The general requirements for the TSI and SSI measurements and their conceptual realization within this payload will be discussed with emphasis on instrumental realization and calibration aspects.
The monitor of the all-sky X-ray image (MAXI) Gas Slit Camera (GSC) on the International Space Station (ISS) detected a gamma-ray burst (GRB) on 2009, September 26, GRB 090926B. This GRB had extremely hard spectra in the X-ray energy range. Joint spectral fitting with the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor on the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope shows that this burst had a peculiarly narrow spectral energy distribution, which can be represented by a Comptonized blackbody model. This spectrum can be interpreted as photospheric emission from a low baryon-load GRB fireball. Calculating the parameter of the fireball, we found the size of the base of the flow to be r0 = (4.3 ± 0.9) × 10 9 Y′−3/2 cm, the Lorentz factor of the plasma is Γ = (110 ± 10) Y′ 1/4 , where Y′ is a ratio between the total fireball energy and the energy in the blackbody component of the gamma-ray emission. This r0 is a factor of a few times larger, and the Lorentz factor of 110 is smaller by also factor of a few than other bursts that have blackbody components in the spectra.
Long-Term Monitoring of the Black Hole Binary GX 339−4 in the High/Soft State during the 2010 Outburst with MAXI/GSC
We present the results of monitoring the galactic black hole candidate GX 339 − 4 with the Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image (MAXI) / Gas Slit Camera in the high/soft state during an outburst in 2010. All of the spectra throughout the 8-month period were well reproduced with a model consisting of multi-color disk emission and its Comptonization component, whose fraction is ≤ 25% in the total flux. In spite of the flux variability over a factor of 3, the innermost disk radius is constant at Rin = 61 ± 2 km for an inclination angle of i = 46 ∘ and a distance of d = 8 kpc. This Rin value is consistent with those of past measurements with Tenma in the high/soft state. Assuming that the disk extends to the innermost stable circular orbit of a non-spinning black hole, we estimate the black hole mass to be M = 6.8 ± 0.2 M⊙ for i = 46 ∘ and d = 8 kpc, which is consistent with that estimated from the Suzaku observation of the previous low/hard state. Further combined with the mass function, we obtained a mass constraint of 4.3 M⊙ < M < 13.3 M⊙ for the allowed range of d = 6–15 kpc and i < 60 ∘ . We also discuss the spin parameter of the black hole in GX 339 − 4 by applying relativistic accretion disk models to the Swift/XRT data.
Characterization of sensitivity degradation seen from the UV to NIR by RAIDS on the International Space Station
This paper presents an analysis of the sensitivity changes experienced by three of the eight sensors that comprise the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System (RAIDS) after more than a year operating on board the International Space Station (ISS). These sensors are the Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph (EUVS) that covers 550-1100 Å, the Middle Ultraviolet (MUV) spectrometer that covers 1900-3100Å, and the Near Infrared Spectrometer (NIRS) that covers 7220-8740 Å. The scientific goal for RAIDS is comprehensive remote sensing of the temperature, composition, and structure of the lower thermosphere and ionosphere from 85-200 km. RAIDS was installed on the ISS Japanese Expansion Module External Facility (JEM-EF) in September of 2009. After initial checkout the sensors began routine operations that are only interrupted for sensor safety by occasional ISS maneuvers as well as a few days per month when the orbit imparts a risk from exposure to the Sun. This history of measurements has been used to evaluate the rate of degradation of the RAIDS sensors exposed to an environment with significant sources of particulate and molecular contamination. The RAIDS EUVS, including both contamination and detector gain sag, has shown an overall signal loss rate of 0.2% per day since the start of the mission, with an upper boundary of 0.13% per day attributed solely to contamination effects. This upper boundary is driven by uncertainty in the change in the emission field due to changing solar conditions, and there is strong evidence that the true loss due to contamination is significantly smaller. The MUV and NIRS have shown stability to within 1% over the first year of operations.
We present the first published measurement of an altitude profile of the O II 61.7 nm emission, a dayglow feature that can be used to monitor photoionization of O in the lower thermosphere. This photoionization process also results in the O II 83.4 nm emission that, unlike 61.7 nm, is resonantly scattered by ionospheric O+. Although ionospheric characteristics can be inferred from the shape and intensity of 83.4 nm altitude profiles, the interpretation can result in nonunique ion density profiles if the intensity of this source of photons that illuminates the ionosphere from below is unknown. The 61.7 nm emission provides a means to test the accuracy of current models used to calculate the intensity of that source. The data presented here were collected by the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System from the International Space Station on 29 October 2009. The measured 61.7 nm profiles show a steeper drop in intensity below 260 km, where the emission peaks, compared to our model calculations. While the current analysis cannot resolve if the discrepancy is caused by inaccuracies in our model thermospheric composition, photoabsorption cross sections, or both, a 15%–20% increase in the effective O2 photoabsorption at 61.7 nm produces the best qualitative match to the measured profile. Ostensibly, 61.7 nm measurements could replace these model calculations as a more direct measure of the intensity of the 83.4 nm photon source region. In either case, accurate specification of local thermospheric neutral species remains an important component of daytime ionospheric remote sensing.