EE/Meteo 477

11:15-12:05 MWF, 105 Walker

Topics: This course introduces methods for determining various characteristics of a distant volume/target. The course will primarily focus on electromagnetic techniques, emphasizing radio frequency (e.g. radar, microwave radiometry) and optical (e.g. lidar, imaging, spectroscopic, etc.) methods. Additional topics, such as acoustic probing, will be included depending on student interests and time constraints. Applications will address environmental as well as industrial monitoring, target ranging/ID, etc. The course will also include numerous associated topics, like environmental composition/structure, radiative transfer, data/error analysis, orbital mechanics, and safety concerns.

Instructor: Prof. Tim Kane, 3-8727, 213 EEE

Office Hours: 1:30 to 2:30 on Wed, and 10:30 to Noon on Thurs. (or by appointment)

Prerequisites: Introductory electromagnetics and/or radiative transfer or instructor’s consent.

Text: Physical Principles of Remote Sensing, 3rd Edition by W.G. Rees. ( (on Reserve in Engineering Library) …
… plus additional reading material posted on CANVAS

Additional Reading*:

  • Remote Sensing of the Lower Atmosphere by Stephens (1994),
  • Intro to the Physics and Techniques of Remote Sensing, 2nd Ed. by Elachi and van Zyl (2006),
  • Remote Sensing: The Image Chain Approach, 2nd Ed. by Schott e-book (2007),
  • Laser Remote Sensing by Measures (1992),
  • Microwave Radar and Radiometric Remote Sensing, by Ulaby et al. e-book (2014),
  • as well as other library books and books from past classes (e.g., EE 330, METEO 436, etc.)and the INTERWEB!!

Course Requirements and Grading Policy:

  • Homework 50%
    Homework is given weekly and is considered an important part of the class. Students tend to find the problems more challenging than homework of other classes and should expect to spend considerable time on it. Students are encouraged to work together on the homework problems, though each student is responsible for handing in an individual homework set.
  • Quizes (1 in-class and 1 final at 15% each): 30%
    The purpose of the exams is to test the individual student’s progress in the class.
  • Term Projects: 15%
    Each student is expected to investigate a remote sensing topic of their choice utilizing actual data from a remote sensing instrument or platform. The instructor can be consulted for ideas!
    Note: Project topics are due part-way through the semester.
  • Class participation: 5%

Date/Topics/Comments, Reading

  • 26 Aug. Intro (Course, Students, Data, etc.) Ch. 1 (all)
  • 28 Aug. Platforms (Satellites, etc.) Ch. 10 (all) and 11.1
  • 30 Aug. Resolutions (Accuracies, Errors, etc.) handouts
  • 2 Sept. NO CLASS Labor Day
  • 4 Sept. Review of E&M and Waves (UPWs, photons, etc.) 2.1
  • 6 Sept. Phase / Polarization 2.2
  • 9 Sept. Polarization / Interaction with Materials 3.1
  • 11 Sept. Materials / Interfaces 3.1 and 3.2
  • 13 Sept. Interfaces and Surfaces 
  • 16 Sept. Diffraction and Propagation 2.4 and 2.7 
  • 18 Sept. Radiative Transfer (Definitions / Radiative Transfer) 2.5 and 3.5
  • 20 Sept. Absorption and Spectra 2.3 and 3.4
  • 23 Sept. Scattering (Particles) 3.6
  • 25 Sept. Scattering (Surfaces) 3.3
  • 27 Sept. Emission / R.S. Queries from HW 2.6 Project Topics Due
  • 30 Sept. Emission / Rad. Trans. Summary 5.4
  • 2 Oct. Environment Overview 4.1 thru 4.3
  • 4 Oct. Atmospheres 4.4 thru 4.6
  • 7 Oct. Space Weather handouts
  • 9 Oct. Oceans / Land Surfaces / etc. 4.7
  • 11 Oct. QUIZLET “re-read” stuff you haven’t yet!
  • 14 Oct. Passive Optical Systems (Overview/Examples/Hardware) 5.2, 5.3, 5.5 and 6.1
  • 16 Oct. Emission/Absorption Photometry 6.4 and 6.7
  • 18 Oct. Surface Imagery / Thermal Imagery 6.2 and 6.6
  • 21 Oct. Image Processing 11.2 thru 11.4
  • 23 Oct. Image Processing and Examples 5.6, 6.3, 6.5, and 6.8
  • 25 Oct. Passive RF Systems (Blackbody Radiation Review) 7.2
  • 28 Oct. System Design, Calibration, and Hardware 7.1
  • 30 Oct. Rad. Transfer, Weighting Functions, and Atmos. Apps 7.3
  • 1 Nov. More Applications (Atmospheric & Surfaces) 7.4
  • 4 Nov. Data Analysis, Examples 7.5
  • 6 Nov. Active RF Systems (Active systems & Range equations) 9.2
  • 8 Nov. RCS thru Antennas (and other hardware) handouts
  • 11 Nov. Doppler Systems / Weather Radars handouts
  • 13 Nov. Upper Atmospheric Radars / Surface Scatter Systems 9.3 and 9.4
  • 15 Nov. Altimetry / Hard-target systems 8.2
  • 18 Nov. Synthetic Aperture Radars (SAR) 9.5
  • 20 Nov. Active Optical Systems (Range equation, etc.) 9.1 and handouts
  • 22 Nov. Hardware / R.S. Queries from HW Thanksgiving (28 Nov.)
  • 2 Dec. Elastic Systems / Non-linear Systems handouts
  • 4 Dec. Underwater / Laser Ranging handouts
  • 6 Dec. Laser Ranging 8.1
  • 9 Dec. Additional Methods (e.g., Acoustics) 11.5 and 11.6
  • 11 Dec. Indirect Approaches (e.g., GPS Apps) / Inversion Tech. Projects DUE !!!
  • 13 Dec. Examples / Data Handling / etc. …and then the Final

Academic Integrity

Class members may collaborate on homework assignments, but the final product to be handed in must be your own work.  Students may not plagiarize text from papers or websites written by others.  Students who present other people's work as their own will receive at least a 0 on the assignment, and may well receive an F or XF in the course.  Please see the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy (, which this course adopts.  To learn more, see Penn State's Academic Integrity tutorial here: (Links to an external site.) 

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus at For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website (

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


This course abides by the Penn State Attendance Policy E-11 ( and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35 ( Please also see Illness Verification Policy ( and Religious Observance Policy ( Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes.  Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, military service, family emergencies, regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities, and post-graduate, career-related interviews when there is no opportunity for students to re-schedule these opportunities (such as employment and graduate school final interviews).  Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVPSA) and Student Care and Advocacy for help (  Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar's Office ( at least one week prior to the activity.

Weather Delays

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News. and communicated to cell phones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at 

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated ( and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation. Services include the following: 

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park (CAPS): 814-863-0395
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741 

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail (see to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and bulletin board postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review some general Netiquette guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Disruptive Behavior

Behavior that disrupts normal classroom activities will not be tolerated, in accordance with Items 9 and 14 in the Student Code of Conduct.  Cell phone use during class is prohibited. Please turn your phones off prior to the start of class.


In the case of an emergency, we will follow the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Critical Incident Plan ( In the event of an evacuation, we will follow posted evacuation routes and gather at the Designated Meeting Site. Evacuation routes for all EMS buildings are available at For more information regarding actions to take during particular emergencies, please see the Penn State Emergency Action Guides.

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework.  For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct and Prevention & Response website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

For additional information, see: