Satellite Imaging and Sensing

Authored by: Robert F. Cromp

Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439848913
eBook ISBN: 9781439848937
Adobe ISBN:


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Satellite imaging and sensing is the process by which the electromagnetic energy reflected or emitted from the Earth (or any other planetary) surface is captured by a sensor located on a spaceborne platform. The Sun as well as all terrestrial objects can be sources of energy. Visible light, radio waves, heat, ultraviolet, and x-rays are all examples of electromagnetic energy. Since electromagnetic energy travels in a sinusoidal fashion, it follows the principles of wave theory, and electromagnetic waves are categorized by their wavelength within the electromagnetic spectrum. Although it is continuous, different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum are usually identified and referred to as (from shorter to longer wavelengths) cosmic rays, γ rays, x-rays, ultraviolet, visible (0.4 μm, 0.7 μm), near-infrared (near-IR), mid-infrared (mid-IR), thermal infrared (thermal-IR, above 3 μm), microwave (1 mm, 1 m), and television/radio wavelengths (above 1 m). Figure 79.1 shows the electromagnetic spectrum and these subdivisions.

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