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absolute temperature-Temperature measured on the Kelvin scale, whose base is absolute zero, i.e. -273 °C; 0 °C is expressed as 273 °K.
absorptance-A measure of the ability of a material to absorb EM energy at a specific wavelength.
absorption band-Wavelength interval within which electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere or by other substances.
absorptivity-Capacity of a material to absorb incident radiant energy.
achromatic vision-The perception by the human eye of changes in brightness, often used to describe the perception of monochrome or black and white scenes.
active remote sensing-Remote sensing methods that provide their own source of electromagnetic radiation to illuminate the terrain. Radar is one example.
acuity-A measure of human ability to perceive spatial variations in a scene. It varies with the spatial frequency, shape, and contrast of the variations, and depends on whether the scene is coloured or monochrome.
additive primary colors-Blue, green, and red. Filters of these colors transmit the primary color of the filter and absorb the other two colors.
adiabatic cooling-Refers to decrease in temperature with increasing altitude.
advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR)-Crosstrack multispectral scanner on a NOAA polar-orbiting satellite that acquires five spectral bands of data (0.55 to 12.50 µm) with a ground resolution cell of 1.1 by 1.1 km.
aerial magnetic survey-Survey that records variations in the earth's magnetic field.
air base-Ground distance between optical centers of successive overlapping aerial photographs.
airborne imaging spectrometer (AIS)-Along-track multispectral scanner with spectral bandwidth of 0.01 µm.
airborne visible and infrared imaging spectrometer (AVIRIS)-Experimental airborne along-track multispectral scanner under development at JPL to acquire 224 images in the spectral region from 0.4 to 2.4 µm.
AIS-Airborne imaging spectrometer.
albedo (A)-Ratio of the amount of electromagnetic energy reflected by a surface to the amount of energy incident upon it.
along-track scanner-Scanner with a linear array of detectors oriented normal to flight path. The IFOV of each detector sweeps a path parallel with the flight direction.
alteration-Changes in color and mineralogy of rocks surrounding a mineral deposit that are caused by the solutions that formed the deposit. Suites of alteration minerals commonly occur in zones.
amplitude-For waves, the vertical distance from crest to trough.
Analog display-A form of data display in which values are shown in graphic form, such as curves. Differs from digital displays in which values are shown as arrays of numbers.
analogue image-An image where the continuous variation in the property being sensed is represented by a continuos variation in image tone. In a photograph this is achieved directly by the grains of photosensitive chemicals in the film; in an electronic scanner, the response in, say, millivolts is transformed to a display on a cathode-ray tube where it may be photographed.
angular beam width-In radar, the angle subtended in the horizontal plane by the radar beam.
angular field of view-Angle subtended by lines from a remote sensing system to the outer margins of the strip of terrain that is viewed by the system.
angular resolving power-Minimum separation between two resolvable targets, expressed as angular separation.
anomaly-An area on an image that differs from the surrounding, normal area. For example, a concentration of vegetation within a desert scene constitutes an anomaly.
antenna-Device that transmits and receives microwave and radio energy in radar systems.
aperture-Opening in a remote sensing system that admits electromagnetic radiation to the film in radar systems.
Apollo-U.S. lunar exploration program of satellites with crews of three astronauts.
apparent thermal inertia (ATI)-An approximation of thermal inertia calculated as one minus albedo divided by the difference between daytime and nighttime radiant temperatures.
artefact-A feature on an image which is produced by the optics of the system or by digital image processing, and sometimes masquerades as a real feature.
ASA index-Index of the American Standards Association designating film speed, or sensitivity to light. Higher values indicate higher sensitivity. The ASA index has been replaced by the ISO index.
ATI-Apparent thermal inertia.
atmosphere-Layer of gases that surrounds some planets.
atmospheric correction-Image-processing procedure that compensates for effects of selectivity scattered light in multispectral images.
atmospheric shimmer-An effect produced by the movement of masses of air with different refractive indices, which is most easily seen in the twinkling of stars. Shimmer results in blurring on remotely sensed images, and is the ultimate control over the resolution of any system
atmospheric window-Wavelength interval within which the atmosphere readily transmits electromagnetic radiation.
attitude-Angular orientation of remote sensing system with respect to a geographic reference system.
AVHRR-Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer, a multispectral imaging system carried by the TIROS-NOAA series of meteorological satellites.
AVIRIS-Airborne visible and infrared imaging spectrometer.
azimuth-Geographic orientation of a line given as an angle measured in degrees clockwise from north.
azimuth direction-In radar images, the direction in which the aircraft is heading. Also called flight direction.
azimuth resolution-In radar images, the spatial resolution in the azimuth direction
background-Area on an image or the terrain that surrounds an area of interest, or target.
backscatter-In radar, the portion of the microwave energy scattered by the terrain surface directly back toward the antenna.
backscatter coefficient-A quantitative measure of the intensity of energy returned to a radar antenna from the terrain.
band-A wavelength interval in the electromagnetic spectrum. For example, in Landsat images the bands designate specific wavelength intervals at which images are acquired.
base-height ratio-Air base divided by aircraft height. This ratio determines vertical exaggeration on stereo models.
batch processing-Method of data processing in which data and programs are entered into a computer that carries out the entire processing operation with no further instructions.
bathymetry-Configuration of the seafloor.
beam-A focused pulse of energy.
bin-One of a series of equal intervals in a range of data, most commonly employed to describe the divisions in a histogram.
binary-Numerical system using the base 2.
bit-Contraction of binary digit, which in digital computing represents an exponent of the base 2.
blackbody-An ideal substance that absorbs all the radiant energy incident on it and emits radiant energy at the maximum possible rate per unit area at each wavelength for any given temperature. No actual substance is a true blackbody, although some substances, such as lampblack, approach its properties.
blind spot-The point of the optic nerve to the retina where no radiation is detected by the eye.
brightness-Magnitude of the response produced in the eye by light.
brute-force radar-See real-aperture radar.
byte-A group of eight bits of digital data
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