Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 1991. 29: 89-127
Copyright © 1991 by . All rights reserved

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2.4 Shuttle Glow

The effects of terrestrial atmospheric emission are pernicious. In 1980, Huffman et al (46) reported intense Lyman-Birge-Hopfield emission of N2 over a very broad spectral range observed looking down from a satellite in polar orbit at altitudes from 160 to 260 km. Fortunately the signal appears to have had its origin not directly from the atmosphere, but rather from impact of the residual atmosphere on the spacecraft (16). This phenomenon became famous within the Space Shuttle program as ``shuttle glow'' (73). The data of Figure 4 and other UVX data from The Johns Hopkins experiment have been used by Tennyson et al (109), and Morrison et al (77) to show that the Space Shuttle, even with shuttle glow, is a most benign environment for a properly managed study of very-low-surface brightness ultraviolet radiation.

Discrepancies between different observations, discussed below, may be related to this phenomenon of spacecraft glow. The argument for or against this possibility in specific cases is inconclusive, especially when a photometer is used and there is therefore no diagnostic character to the signal being reported.