EE/Ae 157

Introduction to the Physics of Remote Sensing



Course Description

This course provides an overview of the physics behind space remote sensing instruments. Topics include the interaction of electromagnetic waves with natural surfaces, including scattering of microwaves, microwave and thermal emission from atmospheres and surfaces, and spectral reflection from natural surfaces and atmospheres in the near-infrared and visible regions of the spectrum. The class also discusses the design of modern space sensors and associated technology, including sensor design, new observation techniques, ongoing developments, and data analysis and interpretation. Examples of applications and instrumentation in geology, planetology, oceanography, astronomy, and atmospheric research will be discussed. 



Jakob van Zyl

(818) 625-5111




Mondays         2:30 – 3:55 p.m. in room B280 Moore

Wednesdays    2:30 – 3:55 p.m. in room B280 Moore



Teaching Assistant         

Shiv Raikundalia


Office Hours:

Wednesdays and Fridays 12:30 – 2:30

Room 430 Moore



Introduction to the Physics and Techniques of Remote Sensing, Second Edition by Charles Elachi and Jakob van Zyl (Wiley, 2006)


Lecture Notes


Orbit Mechanics

Orbits: Appendix B

Chapter 3

Nature of Electromagnetic Waves

Visible and NIR (1)

Visible and NIR (2)

Thermal IR



Radar Scattering Models

Radar Soil Moisture Measurement

Polarimetric Radar Basics

Polarimetric Radar Continued

Advanced Polarimetric Radar

Polarimetric Radar Adaptive Decomposition

Radar Interferometry Basics

Differential Interferometry

Altimetry and Scatterometry

Imaging Geometries

Scott Hensleyfs Slides





                         Homework # 1 due October 21, 2019


                         Homework #2 due October 30, 2019


                         Homework #3 due November 13, 2019


                         Exam due November 22, 2019


                         Homework #4 due December 4, 2019

                         Extra Credit Assignment due December 13, 2019

                         Homework #5 due January 22, 2020

                         Homework #6 due February 5, 2020

                         Exam due February 24, 2020

                         Homework #7 due March 9, 2020

                         Extra Credit Assignment due March 20, 2020






Will be discussed in class and posted after corrected homeworks have been returned.