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Shuo Ma, Wei Yan, Yunxian Huang, Jun Jiang, Shensen Hu, and Yingqiang Wang

Abstract

Many quantitative uses of the nighttime imagery provided by low-light sensors, such as the day–night band (DNB) on board the Suomi–National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (SNPP), have emerged recently. Owing to the low nighttime radiance, low-light calibration at night must be investigated in detail. Traditional vicarious calibration methods are based on some targets with nearly invariant surface properties under lunar illumination. However, the relatively stable light emissions may also be used to realize the radiometric calibration under low light. This paper presents a low-light calibration method based on bridge lights, and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) DNB data are used to assess the proposed method. A comparison of DNB high-gain-stage (HGS) radiances over a 2-yr period from August 2012 to July 2014 demonstrates that the predictions are consistent with the observations, and the agreement between the predictions and the observations is on the order of −2.9% with an uncertainty of 9.3% (1σ) for the Hangzhou Bay Bridge and −3.9% with an uncertainty of 7.2% (1σ) for the Donghai Bridge. Such a calibration method based on stable light emissions has a wide application prospect for the calibration of low-light sensors at night.

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