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Solar–Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment II (SOLSTICE II): Pre-Launch and On-Orbit Calibrations


The Solar–Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment {II (SOLSTICE {II), aboard the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) spacecraft, consists of a pair of identical scanning grating monochromators, which have the capability to observe both solar spectral irradiance and stellar spectral irradiance using a single optical system. The SOLSTICE science objectives are to measure solar spectral irradiance from 115 to 320 nm with a spectral resolution of 1 nm, a cadence of 6 h, and an accuracy of 5%, to determine its variability with a long-term relative accuracy of 0.5% per year during a 5-year nominal mission, and to determine the ratio of solar irradiance to that of an ensemble of bright B and A stars to an accuracy of 2%. Those objectives are met by calibrating instrument radiometric sensitivity before launch using the Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility at the National Institute for Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland. During orbital operations irradiance measurements from an ensemble of bright, stable, main-sequence B and A stars are used to track instrument sensitivity. SORCE was launched on 25 January 2003. After spacecraft and instrument check out, SOLSTICE {II first observed a series of three stars to establish an on-orbit performance baseline. Since 6 March 2003, both instruments have been making daily measurements of both the Sun and stars. This paper describes the pre-flight and in-flight calibration and characterization measurements that are required to achieve the SOLSTICE science objectives and compares early SOLSTICE{II measurements of both solar and stellar irradiance with those obtained by SOLSTICE {I on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite.

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Correspondence to William E. McClintock.

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McClintock, W.E., Snow, M. & Woods, T.N. Solar–Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment II (SOLSTICE II): Pre-Launch and On-Orbit Calibrations. Sol Phys 230, 259–294 (2005).

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  • Spectral Resolution
  • Solar Irradiance
  • Spectral Irradiance
  • Instrument Sensitivity
  • Climate Experiment