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Detector Ringing

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Known Issues

Landsat data are systematic, geometric, radiometric, and terrain corrected to provide the highest quality data to the user communities. Occasionally, anomalies occur and artifacts are discovered that require research and monitoring. The Landsat Calibration and Validation (Cal/Val) team investigates and tracks anomalous data.

A number of known issues regarding Landsat data are listed on this page. Updates to this list are not only made when new anomalies and artifacts are discovered, but also when investigations require changes to already existing issues.

If you discover data artifacts that are not listed here, please contact us.

Known Issues Home, Banding, Coherent Noise, Coherent Noise Storm, Data Loss, Detector Failure, Detector Ringing, Detector Striping, Gimbaled X-band Antenna (GXA) Anomaly, IC Intrusion, Impulse Noise (IN), Lower Truncation Acquisitions, Memory Effect (ME), Optical Leak, Oversaturation, Scan Correlated Shift (SCS), Scan Mirror Pulse, Shutter Synchronization Anomalies, Single Event Upset (SEU), Thermal Infrared Sensor Select Mechanism Anomaly

Detector Ringing

Night Data, Band 1 Detector 9
Figure 1. Night Data, Band 1 Detector 9
Click to view larger image. - .gif (123 KB)
Water Imagery, Band 1 Detector 9
Figure 2. Water Imagery, Band 1 Detector 9
Click to view larger image. - .gif (141 KB)
Terrain Imagery, Band 1 Detector 9
Figure 3. Terrain Imagery, Band 1 Detector 9
Click to view larger image. - .gif (220 KB)
Night Data, Band 8 Detector 14
Figure 4. Night Data, Band 8 Detector 14
Click to view larger image. - .gif (72.4 KB)

Figure 1-4. Examples of Detector Ringing artifacts in Landsat 7 (L7) Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) Level-0 (L0) data.


Detector Ringing is an artifact that affects a few detectors on Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+). This anomaly appears as alternating bright and dark pixels that appear suddenly and with no obvious cause. The intensity of the ringing gradually diminishes until the detector returns to normal operation. The initial magnitude of a ringing event may be 200 Digital Number (DN) or more. Because this value adds to any underlying imagery, this artifact almost always saturates the detector data at 0 or 255, or both.

A relationship was found between the Detector Ringing events and the appearance of anomalous coherent noise. While using the Side A electronics, only three detectors have exhibited ringing behavior: Band 1 detectors 9 and 11, and Band 8 detector 14. These detectors also have the largest magnitude anomalous coherent noise.

The current theory to explain this relationship is that charge buildup on the spacecraft leads to a dielectric breakdown event that allows noise current to enter the circuitry. The dielectric breakdown event creates a Detector Ringing artifact, and the noise current is the source of the anomalous coherent noise. This theory is supported by the observation that ringing artifacts are more frequently found at the beginning of subinterval collections. Moreover, the artifacts occur slightly more often in data over polar regions where the charged particle environment of the satellite is strongest. Ringing events have occurred less frequently since the failure of the Scan Line Corrector (SLC) in 2003, but they are still sometimes observed.

Detector Ringing artifacts are uncorrectable, but they are not expected to cause any lasting damage to the detectors involved. They have been rare on L7 ETM+. An examination of the Image Assessment System (IAS) trending database estimates that one percent of all Landsat imagery contains ringing artifacts.


Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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Landsat Updates

The Landsat Update is an informal communication tool, prepared periodically and distributed electronically to USGS Landsat partners, to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

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