Have you noticed stray light contamination in visible, near-IR and SWIR imagery at night (~0400 – 0600 UTC) recently? Missing pieces of images as well? Odd GLM behavior? This is due to light from the sun directly entering the imaging sensors during a period known as the eclipse season. The eclipse season occurs in the Northern Hemisphere during the Spring (late Feb to mid April) and Fall (late Aug to mid-Oct) every year. During this period, the satellite enters the shadow of the Earth during the late night hours. Sunlight enters the sensors and impacts the VIS/NIR/SWIR imagery and GLM as the satellite enters and leaves the Earth’s shadow. More details on this phenomenon can be found on the NESDIS/OSPO webpage here. According to NESDIS for the current eclipse season:
“Stray light contamination and truncated swaths during the GOES-East Fall 2018 eclipse season will be apparent on ABI imagery: Starting August 8, 2018 from approximately 0415 UTC – 0545 UTC each day in the Northern Hemisphere until September 22, 2018.”
Examples below are from GOES-16 (East) ABI and GLM. Figures 1, 2, and 3 are early in the eclipse season (20 August), and reveal the vertical beam of stray light contamination in ABI imagery. Notice the beam is apparent in the visible and shortwave IR channel, but is not apparent in the IR window channel.
- Figure 1: 20 August 2018 GOES-16 5-min 0.64 um VIS. Notice vertical beam of light passing across CONUS. Full res
Figure 2: 20 August 2018 GOES-16 5-min 3.9 um SWIR. Notice warming of features, especially cold cloud tops, as beam of light moves through region. Full res
Figure 3: 20 August 2018 GOES-16 5-min 10.3 um IRW. Full res
Figures 4, 5, and 6 are later in the eclipse season. Stray light is still apparent, as well a canceled frames in all of the channels.
Figure 4: 4 September 2018 GOES-16 5-min 0.64 um VIS. Notice canceled frames and vertical light beam extending south. Full res
Figure 5: 4 September 2018 GOES-16 5-min 3.9 um SWIR. Notice canceled frames and warming of cold cloud tops. Full res
- Figure 6: 4 September 2018 GOES-16 5-min 10.3 um IRW. Notice canceled frames. Full res
GLM data are also impacted during the same period, with the solar intrusion causing false events (Fig 7).
Figure 4: 5 September 2018 GOES-16 5-min IRW and 1-min GLM FED. False detections from GLM are apparent over the western half of the US between 0430 UTC and 0445 UTC. Full res
Bill Line, NWS