Solar induced fluorescence (SIF) is an ecological variable of interest to remote sensing retrievals, as it is directly related to vegetation composition and condition. FIREFLY (fluorescence imaging of red and far-red light yield) is a high performance spectrometer for estimating SIF. FIREFLY was flown in conjunction with NASA Goddard’s lidar, hyperspectral, and thermal (G-LiHT) instrument package in 2017, as a technology demonstration for airborne retrievals of SIF.
Attributes of FIREFLY relevant to SIF retrieval, including detector response and linearity; full-width at half maximum (FWHM); stray light; dark current; and shot noise were characterized with a combination of observations from Goddard’s laser for absolute measurement of radiance calibration facility; an integrating sphere; controlled acquisitions of known targets; in-flight acquisitions; and forward modelling. FWHM, stray light, and dark current were found to be of acceptable magnitude, and characterized to within acceptable limits for SIF retrieval.
FIREFLY observations were found to represent oxygen absorption features, along with a large number of solar absorption features. Shot noise was acceptable for direct SIF retrievals at native resolution, but indirect SIF retrievals from absorption features would require spatial aggregation, or repeated observations of targets.