In October, the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) completed the first measurement of the solar ultraviolet radiation spectrum over the duration of an 11 year solar cycle, a period marked by cyclical shifts in the Suns activity. This long measurement record by two instruments aboard UARS will give researchers better insight into how fluctuations in the Suns energy affect ozone and the Earths climate. In turn, the dataset gives scientists tools to document the influence of man-made chemicals on ozone loss.
Though mission success was initially declared only 18 months after its launch in September 1991, UARS has continued to track ozone levels and atmospheric gases that react with ozone. The satellite has now also recorded the Suns influence on ozone and other gases over an entire solar cycle.
During the 11-year solar cycle the Sun undergoes periodic changes in activity from the "solar maximum," to a period of quiet called the "solar minimum." During the solar maximum there are many sunspots, solar flares, and coronal mass ejections, which can affect communications and the atmosphere here on Earth.
Krishna Ramanujan | EurekAlert!
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