Terrestrial Planet Optical Phase Curves. I. Direct Measurements of the Earth

Roderick De Cock*, Timothy A. Livengood, Daphne M. Stam, Carey M. Lisse, Tilak Hewagama, L. Drake Deming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


NASA's EPOXI mission used the Deep Impact spacecraft to observe the disk-integrated Earth as an analog to terrestial exoplanets' appearance. The mission took five 24 hr observations in 2008-2009 at various phase angles (57. 7-86. 4) and ranges (0.11-0.34 au), of which three equatorial (E1, E4, E5) and two polar (P1, North and P2, South). The visible data taken by the HRIV instrument ranges from 0.3 to 1.0 μm, taken trough seven spectral filters that have spectral widths of about 100 nm, and which are centered about 100 nm apart, from 350 to 950 nm. The disk-integrated, 24 hr averaged signal is used in a phase angle analysis. A Lambertian-reflecting, spherical planet model is used to estimate geometric albedo for every observation and wavelength. The geometric albedos range from 0.143 (E1, 950 nm) to 0.353 (P2, 350 nm) and show wavelength dependence. The equatorial observations have similar values, while the polar observations have higher values due to the ice in view. Therefore, equatorial observations can be predicted for other phase angles, but (Earth-like) polar views (with ice) would be underestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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