The UVS is a light meter that is sensitive to
ultraviolet light. It determines when certain atoms or ions are present,
or when certain physical processes are going on. The instrument looks for
specific colors of ultraviolet light that certain elements and compounds
are known to emit.
The Sun emits a large range of colors of light. If sunlight passes through
an atmosphere, certain elements and molecules in the atmosphere will
absorb very specific frequencies of light. If the UVS, when looking at
filtered sunlight, notices the absence of any of these specific colors,
then particulate elements and/or compounds have been detected. This process
is call identifying elements or compounds by atomic absorption.
UVS Science Objectives
To determine the scattering properties of the lower planetary
To determine the distribution of constituents with height.
To determine the extent and distribution of hydrogen corona of the
planets and satellites.
To investigate night airglow and auroral activity.
To determine the UV scattering properties and optical depths of
To search for emissions from the rings and from any ring