More on building Sun Photometers

More on building Sun Photometers

[pic of David Brooks’ photometer kit]

In following up on his discussion, on the last episode on Make: Talk, of building Sun Photometers and measuring total column water vapor, Forrest Mims sent me the following info:

The instrument that measures total column water vapor is a sun photometer with LEDs that detect at 940 nm (water vapor absorption band) and 820 nm (reference band). I’ve never published the circuit for this specific instrument, which I first developed in 1989, for it is identical to a standard LED sun photometer.

Here is some online material:

1. My initial paper on using LEDs for sun photometry is here [PDF]

2. Detailed construction plans for an NSF-sponsored version of my LED sun photometer (1-channel) can be found here.

3. Detailed assembly steps for building a GLOBE sun photometer available as a kit from David Brooks.

4. Detailed protocol on the operation and use of the GLOBE near-infrared sun photometer for measuring total column water vapor can be found here.

[Thanks, Forrest!]

Make: Talk episode #003 show notes and next episode

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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