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Scanning Radiometer

NSSDCA ID: 1960-016A-02

Mission Name: TIROS 2
Principal Investigator:Mr. Joseph D. Barksdale


The scanning radiometer of the TIROS 2 meteorological satellite measured the emitted and reflected radiation of the earth and its atmosphere. The five-channel radiometer scanned the earth and space as the satellite spun about its axis. The radiometer's bi-directional optical axes were inclined to the satellite spin axis at angles of 45 and 135 deg. The sensor used bolometer detectors and filters to limit the spectral responses and to provide comprehensive data by measuring radiation intensities in selected portions of the spectrum. The spectral bandwidth of each channel (in micrometers) and its associated parameter were - channel 1, 6.0 to 6.5 (water vapor absorption), channel 2, 8.0 to 12.0 (atmospheric window), channel 3, 0.25 to 6.0 (reflected solar radiation), channel 4, 8.0 to 30 (terrestrial radiation), and channel 5, 0.55 to 0.75 (reflected solar radiation). Initially, all channels performed normally. However, channels 1 and 4 gradually deteriorated and by January 1961 were useless. The signal to noise ratio of channels 3 and 5 was extremely low, and the output was highly questionable. Five months of terrestrial radiation measurements were obtained for the region between 55 deg N and 55 deg S latitude before the radiometer chopper motor failed on April 22, 1961. A complete description of the TIROS 2 radiometer experiment can be found in the 'Journal of the Optical Society of America,' vol. 51, no.12, 1386-1393, December 1961.

Alternate Names

  • TIROS2/ScanningRadiometer

Facts in Brief

Mass: 2 kg
Power (avg): 1 W

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Earth Science: Atmospheric Dynamics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Joseph D. BarksdalePrincipal InvestigatorNASA Goddard Space Flight
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