Using a trichromatic CCD camera for spectral skylight estimation.
In a previous work [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 24, 942-956 (2007)] we showed how to design an optimum multispectral system aimed at spectral recovery of skylight. Since high-resolution multispectral images of skylight could be interesting for many scientific disciplines, here we also propose a nonoptimum but much cheaper and faster approach to achieve this goal by using a trichromatic RGB charge-coupled device (CCD) digital camera. The camera is attached to a fish-eye lens, hence permitting us to obtain a spectrum of every point of the skydome corresponding to each pixel of the image. In this work we show how to apply multispectral techniques to the sensors' responses of a common trichromatic camera in order to obtain skylight spectra from them. This spectral information is accurate enough to estimate experimental values of some climate parameters or to be used in algorithms for automatic cloud detection, among many other possible scientific applications.