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DIY Instruments for Amateur Space by Sandy Antunes

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Chapter 9. Calibration

It’s easy to calibrate, right? Here’s how to calibrate simply:

  1. Measure something you know well on the ground.
  2. Set your detector limits so the image matches reality.
  3. Now, anything new you measure is calibrated!

Unfortunately, with real hardware and looking at our fuzzy reality with imperfect information and the fact that photons are distributed statistically rather than deterministically, we run into problems:

  1. A detector has a response curve. You need to calibrate along its entire wavelength.
  2. You need to include any additional factors such as refraction, air, etc. (calibration often done in vacuum).
  3. The instrument and/or optics may (will!) change a bit after the rigors of launch, deployment, and exposure to space.

Response ...

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