Trutinor: A Conceptual Study for a Next-Generation Earth Radiant Energy Instrument


Uninterrupted and overlapping satellite instrument measurements of Earth’s radiation budget from space are required to sufficiently monitor the planet’s changing climate, detect trends in key climate variables, constrain climate models, and quantify climate feedbacks. The Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments are currently making these vital measurements for the scientific community and society, but with modern technologies, there are more efficient and cost-effective alternatives to the CERES implementation. We present a compact radiometer concept, Trutinor (meaning “balance” in Latin), with two broadband channels, shortwave (0.2–3 μm) and longwave (5–50 μm), capable of continuing the CERES record by flying in formation with an existing imager on another satellite platform. The instrument uses a three-mirror off-axis anastigmat telescope as the front optics to image these broadband radiances onto a microbolometer array coated with gold black, providing the required performance across the full spectral range. Each pixel of the sensor has a field of view of 0.6°, which was chosen so the shortwave band can be efficiently calibrated using the Moon as an on-orbit light source with the same angular extent, thereby reducing mass and improving measurement accuracy, towards the goal of a gap-tolerant observing system. The longwave band will utilize compact blackbodies with phase-change cells for an absolute calibration reference, establishing a clear path for SI-traceability. Trutinor’s instrument breadboard has been designed and is currently being built and tested.




Young, C. L., Lukashin, C., Taylor, P. C., Swanson, R., Kirk, W. S., Cooney, M., ... & Buleri, C. (2020). Trutinor: A Conceptual Study for a Next-Generation Earth Radiant Energy Instrument. Remote Sensing, 12(20), 3281.
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