Solar Occultation

Solar occultation is a technique in which the transmission of sunlight through the Earth's atmosphere is measured and ratioed to exoatmospheric measurements (solar measurements recorded with no atmospheric attenuation). This is carried out at a series of tangent heights, increasing in altitude during a sunrise or decreasing in altitude during a sunset. From each of the atmospheric measurements a slant column is calculated which can contain contributions from multiple atmospheric layers. The slant columns contain sufficient information that when combined and inverted, one can obtain a profile of the atmosphere.