Source: NASA/JPL AIRS Project
Published: July 3, 2019

In this animation, the field of view of the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument onboard NASA's Aqua spacecraft is represented by the blue beam as it sweeps back and forth through the atmosphere down to the surface of the Earth. AIRS collects infrared radiance data in this field of view. Panning down, a rainbow-colored column representing temperature layers in the atmosphere is revealed. Temperature values are one of the measurements that will be produced from the infrared radiances. The white vertical beam that runs horizontally across the column represents one scan of the AIRS instrument across the column. The red footprints below the column are meant to suggest the 30 individual vertical columns (profiles) that are captured in one scan. One profile is pulled out of the column and mapped on to a temperature scale to reinforce the idea that each profile contains data up through a vertical column in the atmosphere.