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Instrument Overview

The Cloud Imaging and Particle Size (CIPS) experiment is a wide angle (120° along track by 80° across track) imager consisting of four identical cameras arranged in a cross pattern. CIPS provides images of PMCs with a spatial resolution of 1 x 2 km in the nadir and about 5 km at the edges of the forward and aft cameras.

The four CIPS camera images are merged and binned to form a single display we call a scene with an averaged spatial resolution of 5 x 5 km. A scene is depicted in Figure 2.2.2-1 (below). The scene spatial coverage is 2000 km along the satellite track and 1000 km across track. The red and yellow areas depict strong PMCs in the field of view. As the satellite moves in orbit, any given cloud is viewed seven times at a large range of scattering angles.

CIPS scene

The orbit-to-orbit changes of the PMC features are revealing new information regarding their horizontal motions, and ice particle lifetimes. For the first time, CIPS data now make quantitative comparisons possible with global models, because of the availability of near-simultaneous data for temperature, water vapor, meteoric dust, and other gases that are the key forcing parameters for mesospheric ice formation.

  • CU/LASP designs and fabricates the nadir imager instrument, CIPS, and aligns and calibrates the channels thereof.
  • Panoramic nadir imaging, 120 degrees by 80 degrees field of view (1800 x 800 km)
  • Mie scattering from Polar Mesospheric Clouds near 82 km altitude
    • Derive PMC morphology
    • Measure cloud particle size
  • Rayleigh scattering from the background near 50 km altitude to measure gravity wave activity
  • Multiple exposures of individual cloud elements measure scattering phase function and detect spatial scales ~2 km
  • Ultraviolet bandpass (265 plus or minus 5 nm) maximizes cloud contrast

Benefits of the 4-camera design:

  • Reduces overall complexity of CIPS
  • Reduces CIPS data volume by 33%
  • Reduces AIM data volume by a similar amount (CIPS is the predominant bit producer)
  • Lowers CIPS parts costs, subassembly test costs and mass

More @ AIM

Library Documentation
Data Product User Guides
Spacecraft, Instrument, and Calibration White Papers

Software Tools
AIM Read Routines

CIPS Graphics and Plots in the Library
CIPS Graphics
AIM Science Diagrams

AIM Featured Data
Plot Archive

More @ NASA

GSFC's Scientific Visualization Studio: The first season of NLCs from AIM
CIPS Graphics & Animation

NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere

More on the Web

Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, University of Colorado (2015) Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere—CIPS Instrument. (2015) Realtime NLC Gallery.

NASA Earth Observatory (2013, June 25) Early Start for Noctilucent Clouds.

NASA Earth Observatory (2011, January 27) Night-Shining Clouds Are Getting Brighter.


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