Michelson Interferometer for Global High-Resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI): Instrument Design and Calibration

Christoph R. Englert, John M. Harlander, Charles M. Brown, Kenneth D. Marr, Ian J. Miller, J. Eloise Stump, Jed Hancock, James Q. Peterson, Jay Kumler, William H. Morrow, Thomas A. Mooney, Scott Ellis, Stephen B. Mende, Stewart E. Harris, Michael H. Stevens, Jonathan J. Makela, Brian J. Harding, Thomas J. Immel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Michelson Interferometer for Global High-resolution Thermospheric Imaging (MIGHTI) instrument was built for launch and operation on the NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission. The instrument was designed to measure thermospheric horizontal wind velocity profiles and thermospheric temperature in altitude regions between 90 km and 300 km, during day and night. For the wind measurements it uses two perpendicular fields of view pointed at the Earth’s limb, observing the Doppler shift of the atomic oxygen red and green lines at 630.0 nm and 557.7 nm wavelength. The wavelength shift is measured using field-widened, temperature compensated Doppler Asymmetric Spatial Heterodyne (DASH) spectrometers, employing low order échelle gratings operating at two different orders for the different atmospheric lines. The temperature measurement is accomplished by a multichannel photometric measurement of the spectral shape of the molecular oxygen A-band around 762 nm wavelength. For each field of view, the signals of the two oxygen lines and the A-band are detected on different regions of a single, cooled, frame transfer charge coupled device (CCD) detector. On-board calibration sources are used to periodically quantify thermal drifts, simultaneously with observing the atmosphere. The MIGHTI requirements, the resulting instrument design and the calibration are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-584
Number of pages32
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • ICON Explorer mission
  • Limb sounding
  • Spatial Heterodyne Spectroscopy
  • Thermospheric temperature
  • Thermospheric wind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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