Solar Spectral Irradiance Variability in November/December 2012: Comparison of Observations by Instruments on the International Space Station and Models
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Onboard the International Space Station (ISS), two instruments are observing the solar spectral irradiance (SSI) at wavelengths from 16 to 2900 nm. Although the ISS platform orientation generally precludes pointing at the Sun more than 10 – 14 days per month, in November/December 2012 a continuous period of measurements was obtained by implementing an ISS ‘bridging’ maneuver. This enabled observations to be made of the solar spectral irradiance (SSI) during a complete solar rotation. We present these measurements, which quantify the impact of active regions on SSI, and compare them with data simultaneously gathered from other platforms, and with models of spectral irradiance variability. Our analysis demonstrates that the instruments onboard the ISS have the capability to measure SSI variations consistent with other instruments in space. A comparison among all available SSI measurements during November–December 2012 in absolute units with reconstructions using solar proxies and observed solar activity features is presented and discussed in terms of accuracy.
KeywordsSpectral solar irradiance variability International Space Station SOLSPEC SolACES Solar Modeling
The SOLSPEC and SolACES investigations are supported by the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (France), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), the Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (Belgium), and the Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technologie (Germany). The participating institutes are the Service d’Aéronomie du CNRS, now LATMOS, the Institut d’Aéronomie Spatiale de Belgique, the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measuring Technique (Freiburg), and the Landessternwarte of Heidelberg. The SOLSPEC and SolACES absolute calibrations have been carried out with the blackbody BB3200g from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, Braunschweig, Germany), and cross-calibrated at BESSY II (PTB, Berlin, Germany), respectively. SOLAR constitutes an external payload of the ESA COLUMBUS laboratory placed onboard the International Space Station. The SOLAR operations are conducted by the Belgium User Support Operations Center (B-USOC) via the COLUMBUS Control Center of DLR (Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany). SolACES has been developed by the Fraunhofer IPM. EADS Astrium Friedrichshafen supported the institute in performing the qualification and documentation. The project was sponsored by DLR, ESA, and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. A. I. Shapiro is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under grant CRSI122-130642 (FUPSOL) and 100020 140573. C. Bolduc and P. Charbonneau are supported by a team grant and a doctoral fellowship from the Fond Québécois pour la Recherche en Nature et Technologie. We are happy to thank J. Harder and, M. Snow and M. DeLand for providing the SIM data and Mg II index, respectively, and B-USOC for providing the raw SOLSPEC data used in this study. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2012) under grant agreement No. 313188 (SOLID). G. Cessateur is supported by the FP7 programme (eHeroes, No. 284461). J. Lean acknowledges NASA support.
Finally, we thank the referee for his valuable report.
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