Pandora Operation and Analysis Software controls the Pandora Sun- and sky-pointing optical head and built-in filter wheels (neutral density, UV bandpass, polarization filters, and opaque). The software also controls the attached spectrometer exposure time and thermoelectric cooler to maintain the spectrometer temperature to within 1 °C. All functions are available through a GUI so as to be easily accessible by the user. The data are automatically stored on a miniature computer (netbook) for automatic download to a designated server at user defined intervals (once per day, once per week, etc.), or to a USB external device. An additional software component reduces the raw data (spectrometer counts) to preliminary scientific products for quickview purposes. The Pandora systems are built from off-the-shelf commercial parts and from mechanical parts machined using electronic machine shop drawings. The Pandora spectrometer system is designed to look at the Sun (tracking to within 0.1°), or to look at the sky at any zenith or azimuth angle, to gather information about the amount of trace gases or aerosols that are present.

This work was done by Jay Herman, Alexander Cede, and Nader Abuhassan of the University of Maryland for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-16080-1

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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