Articles | Volume 5, issue 11
Research article
27 Nov 2012
Research article |  | 27 Nov 2012

Precise pointing knowledge for SCIAMACHY solar occultation measurements

K. Bramstedt, S. Noël, H. Bovensmann, M. Gottwald, and J. P. Burrows

Abstract. We present a method to precisely determine the viewing direction for solar occultation instruments from scans over the solar disk. Basic idea is the fit of the maximum intensity during the scan, which corresponds to the center of the solar disk in the scanning direction. We apply this method to the solar occultation measurements of the satellite instrument SCIAMACHY, which scans the Sun in elevation direction. The achieved mean precision is 0.46 mdeg, which corresponds to an tangent height error of about 26 m for individual occultation sequences. The deviation of the derived elevation angle from the geolocation information given along with the product has a seasonal cycle with an amplitude of 2.26 mdeg, which is in tangent height an amplitude of about 127 m. The mean elevation angle offset is −4.41 mdeg (249 m). SCIAMACHY's sun follower device controls the azimuth viewing direction during the occultation measurements. The derived mean azimuth direction has an standard error of 0.65 mdeg, which is about 36 m in horizontal direction at the tangent point. We observe also a seasonal cycle of the azimuth mispointing with an amplitude of 2.3 mdeg, which is slightly increasing with time. The almost constant mean offset is 88 mdeg, which is about 5.0 km horizontal offset at the tangent point.