Researchers win grant to improve Landsat 8 data
Aaron Gerace and Matthew Montanaro calibrate thermal sensor
Rochester Institute of Technology researchers have won funding from the U.S. Geological Survey to ensure accurate temperature data from NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite. Climate researchers depend on public data from the Earth-sensing satellite to measure surface changes over time.
The agency awarded Aaron Gerace and Matthew Montanaro, senior scientists in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, a five-year, $500,000 grant to continue monitoring improvements they made to Landsat 8’s Thermal Infrared Sensor, or TIRS.
The RIT researchers developed a software correction to compensate for faulty optics discovered in the instrument following the Landsat 8 launch in 2013. Corrected image data collected from the Thermal Infrared Sensor shows accuracies similar to previous Landsat instruments, said Gerace and Montanaro.
Their software solution fixed a problem in which unwanted light entered the instrument and resulted in inaccurate temperature measurements of the Earth’s surface. Prior to the correction, errors in the image data were as high as 10 degrees Celsius in areas with extreme surface temperatures like Antarctic or desert regions. Mid-range surface temperatures typical of the United States were less affected by wide margins of error, the researchers said.
The U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., began using the software correction in its operational processing of Landsat 8 data in early 2017. The corrected image data is part of the public domain.
“Support from USGS means we’ll be able to monitor the Thermal Infrared Sensor and its enhanced capabilities now that the stray-light algorithm has been implemented,” Gerace said.
Gerace and Montanaro published their findings, “Derivation and validation of the stray light correction algorithm for the thermal infrared sensor onboard Landsat 8,” in the March 15 issue of Remote Sensing of Environment.
NASA’s Landsat program of Earth-orbiting satellites has monitored global changes to the landscape since 1972. Landsat satellites orbit the Earth’s poles and pass over the same spot every 16 days to study how the Earth changes over time.
May 16, 2019
Laser for sound promises to measure extremely tiny phenomena
Guest essay co-written by, associate professor of physics and astronomy, published by The Conversation.
May 16, 2019
The Ellsworth American features Adam Fisher '10 (imaging arts - computer animation), a former animator at Laika Studios.
May 15, 2019
RIT research helps artificial intelligence be more accurate, fair and inclusive
RIT has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to help make artificial intelligence smarter and more inclusive. The grant creates the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site in Computational Sensing for Human-centered AI and will allow a total of 30 undergraduate students from across the country to spend 10 weeks at RIT.
May 15, 2019
RIT to gather computational astrophysics experts from across the globe for workshops in June
Scientists conducting cutting-edge research in computational astrophysics will converge at RIT for two workshops in June. Experts from RIT, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Berkeley and other prestigious institutions will speak at the events hosted by RIT’s Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation.