A large-area blackbody for in-flight calibration of an infrared interferometer deployed on board a long-duration balloon for stratospheric research

Olschewski, Friedhelm; Monte, Christian; Adibekyan, Albert; Reiniger, Max; Gutschwager, Berndt; Hollandt, Joerg; Koppmann, Ralf

The deployment of the imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer GLORIA (Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere) on board a long-duration balloon for stratospheric research requires a blackbody for in-flight calibration in order to provide traceability to the International Temperature Scale (ITS-90) to ensure comparability with the results of other experiments and over time. GLORIA, which has been deployed onboard various research aircraft such as the Russian M55 Geophysica or the German HALO in the past, shall also be used for detailed atmospheric measurements in the stratosphere up to 40 inline-formulakm altitude. The instrument uses a two-dimensional detector array and an imaging optics with a large aperture diameter of 36 mm and an opening angle of 4.07inline-formulainline-formula× 4.07inline-formula for infrared limb observations. To overfill the field of view (FOV) of the instrument, a large-area blackbody radiation sources (125 inline-formulamminline-formula× 125 inline-formulamm) is required for in-flight calibration.

In order to meet the requirements regarding the scientific goals of the GLORIA missions, the radiance temperature of the blackbody calibration source has to be determined to better than 100 inline-formulamK and the spatial temperature uniformity shall be better than 150 inline-formulamK. As electrical resources on board a stratospheric balloon are very limited, the latent heat of the phase change of a eutectic material is utilized for temperature stabilization of the calibration source, such that the blackbody has a constant temperature of about inline-formula−32 inline-formulaC corresponding to a typical temperature observed in the stratosphere.

The Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research at the University of Wuppertal designed and manufactured a prototype of the large-area blackbody for in-flight calibration of an infrared interferometer deployed on board a long-duration balloon for stratospheric research. This newly developed calibration source was tested under lab conditions as well as in a climatic and environmental test chamber in order to verify its performance especially under flight conditions. At the PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt), the German national metrology institute, the spatial radiance distribution of the blackbody was determined and traceability to the International Temperature Scale (ITS-90) has been assured. In this paper the design and performance of the balloon-borne blackbody (BBB) is presented.

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Olschewski, Friedhelm / Monte, Christian / Adibekyan, Albert / et al: A large-area blackbody for in-flight calibration of an infrared interferometer deployed on board a long-duration balloon for stratospheric research. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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