Spectral emissivity curves characterize the reflectance and/or emittance of a feature or target over a variety of wavelengths. Different classes of features and details in an image can be distinguished by comparing their responses over distinct wavelength ranges. Broad classes such as water and vegetation can be separated using broad wavelength ranges (VIS, NIR), whereas specific classes like rock types would require a comparison of fine wavelength ranges to separate them. Hence spectral resolution describes the ability of the sensor to define fine wavelength intervals i.e. sampling the spatially segmented image in different spectral intervals, thereby allowing the spectral irradiance of the image to be determined.
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