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Instruments

Infrared Interferometer Spectrometer and Radiometer

The IRIS actually acts as three separate instruments. First, it is a very sophisticated thermometer. It can determine the distribution of heat energy a body is emitting, allowing scientists to determine the temperature of that body or substance. Second, the IRIS is a device that can determine when certain types of elements or compounds are present in an atmosphere or on a surface. Third, it uses a separate radiometer to measure the total amount of sunlight reflected by a body at ultraviolet, visible, and infrared frequencies.

IRIS Science Objectives

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Determination of atmospheric vertical thermal structure (which in turn aids modeling of atmosphereic dynamics).

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Measurement of the abundances of hydrogen and helium (as a check on theories regarding their ratio in the primitive solar nebula).

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Determination of the balance of energy radiated to that absorbed from the sun (to help investigate planetary origin, evolution, and internal processes).

A Sideways Diagram of the IRIS