First light from the Far-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Troposphere (FIRST) instrument
Article first published online: 4 APR 2006
Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 33, Issue 7, April 2006
How to Cite
2006), First light from the Far-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Troposphere (FIRST) instrument, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L07704, doi:10.1029/2005GL025114., et al. (
- Issue published online: 4 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 4 APR 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 MAR 2006
- Manuscript Revised: 13 FEB 2006
- Manuscript Received: 2 NOV 2005
 We present first light spectra that were measured by the newly-developed Far-Infrared Spectroscopy of the Troposphere (FIRST) instrument during a high-altitude balloon flight from Ft. Sumner, NM on 7 June 2005. FIRST is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer designed to measure accurately the far-infrared (15 to 100 μm; 650 to 100 wavenumbers, cm−1) emission spectrum of the Earth and its atmosphere. The flight data successfully demonstrated the FIRST instrument's ability to observe the entire energetically significant infrared emission spectrum (50 to 2000 cm−1) at high spectral and spatial resolution on a single focal plane in an instrument with one broad spectral bandpass beamsplitter. Comparisons with radiative transfer calculations demonstrate that FIRST accurately observes the very fine spectral structure in the far-infrared. Comparisons also show excellent agreement between the atmospheric window radiance measured by FIRST and by instruments on the NASA Aqua satellite that overflew the FIRST flight. FIRST opens a new window on the spectrum that can be used for studying atmospheric radiation and climate, cirrus clouds, and water vapor in the upper troposphere.