In-flight calibration of the Cassini imaging science sub-system cameras

Robert West, Benjamin Knowles, Emma Birath, Sebastien Charnoz, Daiana Di Nino, Matthew Hedman, Paul Helfenstein, Alfred McEwen, Jason Perry, Carolyn Porco, Julien Salmon, Henry Throop, Daren Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


We describe in-flight calibration of the Cassini Imaging Science Sub-system narrow- and wide-angle cameras using data from 2004 to 2009. We report on the photometric performance of the cameras including the use of polarization filters, point spread functions over a dynamic range greater than 10 7, gain and loss of hot pixels, changes in flat fields, and an analysis of charge transfer efficiency. Hot pixel behavior is more complicated than can be understood by a process of activation by cosmic ray damage and deactivation by annealing. Point spread function (PSF) analysis revealed a ghost feature associated with the narrow-angle camera Green filter. More generally, the observed PSFs do not fall off with distance as rapidly as expected if diffraction were the primary contributor. Stray light produces significant signal far from the center of the PSF. Our photometric analysis made use of calibrated spectra from eighteen stars and the spectral shape of the satellite Enceladus. The analysis revealed a shutter offset that differed from pre-launch calibration. It affects the shortest exposures. Star photometry results are reproducible to a few percent in most filters. No degradation in charge transfer efficiency has been detected although uncertainties are large. The results of this work have been digitally archived and incorporated into our calibration software CISSCAL available online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1488
Number of pages14
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Experimental techniques
  • Image processing
  • Instrumentation
  • Photometry
  • Polarimetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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