SPI Corp And NASA Produce Multispectral Images of 2012 Partial Annular Eclipse With Thermal Imager and Infrared Cameras

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NASA turns space borne instruments toward the sun for 2012 annular eclipse. SPI Corp compliments with thermal infrared imaging of the event.

Photo of the 2012 eclipse from NASA

"Image Courtesy of NASA www.nasa.gov"

We are excited to stand here on earth and reach out into the stars

SPI Corp is a leading manufacturer and distributor of thermal infrared imaging systems in the United States. Their product line includes handheld, weapon mounted and pan tilt thermal imager platforms but they have not produced any space borne systems to date. On Sunday, May 20, 2012 they took their first foray into interstellar exploration by turning a handheld thermal imager to the skies to record the 2012 annular eclipse in the infrared spectrum.

“We are excited to stand here on earth and reach out into the stars” commented Randall Kolchins, Director SPI Corp “we feel that this small step is the beginning of a journey for us along a virtually infinite road of discovery.” SPI Corp has built many thermal imaging systems that are typically used for ground based analysis and threat detection in the infrared wavelengths. This is their first public attempt at space exploration with thermal imager technology.

NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Agency) has long used multiple wavelengths to study the stars. These highly advanced systems typically utilize wavelengths in the ultraviolet, x-ray, gamma ray, infrared and visible light portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Currently, NASA has space based observbatories studying the sun such as SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) and the SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory). These cutting edge space based observatories are outfitted with a wide array of next generation imaging systems covering the typical exotic wavelengths.

The thermal imager systems that SPI Corp produces typically operate in very narrow bands of the infrared spectrum. The infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is comprised of wavelengths measuring from 1-100 microns. SPI Corp thermal imagers are most commonly fall into two wavelength regions either “mid-wave” thermal cameras or “long wave” thermal imagers. The mid-wave thermal cameras are filtered to image in the 3-5 micron range and their long wave infrared cameras are filtered to produce thermal images in the 7-14 micron range.

“We searched the internet and could not find any thermal images from thermal imagers operating in what we call long wavelength 8-12 micron region” explained Darren Desoto, Lead Technician SPI Corp. “So we thought, hey we have infrared cameras lets see what data we can get”. With this thought they used a FLIR Systems Inc. Recon M18 Thermal Imager with a custom designed SPI Corp telescope attachment. Then, SPI Corp produced a short video of the May 20, 2012 partial annular eclipse utilizing their thermal imager technology. The thermal eclipse video posted at YouTube is freely available for NASA or anyone in the public to view and comment on. “We know that this is an infinitely small step in the grand scheme of space exploration and the understanding of our universe. However, our company is energized by the thought of participating in any way possible in answering the grand questions. We will now continue on this path to develop and participate in any way that we can to further mankind’s understanding of the world we live in.” Stated Mr. Kolchins. “At the risk of sounding corny I would say the sky is the limit”.

SPI Corp has been in the business of manufacturing and distributing Thermal Scope Solutions for well over a decade. Existing products include PTZ thermal imagers, thermal scopes and infrared cameras. SPI Corp is an authorized FLIR Systems Inc. Government Systems Distributor.

Potential customers interested in learning more about the FLIR Systems Thermal Scopes or for purchasing options including the entire line of thermal imager and infrared camera solutions offered by SPI Corp can visit http://www.x20.org. Customers seeking immediate attention regarding these products should contact Jim Santana at 702-369-3966.

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Randall Kolchins
SPI Corp
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