Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA’s SORCE satellite celebrates one year of operations

20.02.2004


Having marked its first anniversary on orbit, NASA’s Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite has hit its stride. In concert with other satellites, SORCE’s observations of the sun’s brightness are helping researchers better understand climate change, climate prediction, atmospheric ozone, the sunburn-causing ultraviolet-B radiation and space weather.


SORCE SPACECRAFT

SORCE maintains a 24-year legacy of solar output monitoring that should help explain and predict the effect of the Sun on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. Credit: NASA / LASP



In fall 2003, SORCE was fortunate to see and measure exceptionally high levels of the sun’s activities. In late October and November the sun sent solar flares and coronal mass ejections hurtling Earthward, disrupting satellites and other transmissions, triggering an intense geomagnetic storm, and enabling sightings of the northern lights as far south as Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma.

The third most powerful solar flare ever observed in X-rays, high-energy photons with very short wavelengths, erupted from Sunspot 486 October 28, 2003, at approximately 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The same spot released a large X11 flare on the afternoon of October 29. As the sunspot moved across the face of the sun, total solar brightness decreased by 0.3 percent.


SORCE tracked the decreases in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) and the increases in X-rays, as well as changes in the other parts of the solar spectrum. SORCE’s suite of instruments measures solar brightness in soft X-ray bands and at wavelengths from ultraviolet through the visible and near-infrared spectrum. This is the most comprehensive dataset ever collected of the complex brightness changes that occur in the solar spectrum during a major eruptive event.

Having accurate knowledge of the sun’s brightness variations on all time scales, from flares to centuries, at all wavelengths heating the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans is essential to understand, model and predict impacts of the sun on Earth.

Two of the SORCE instruments, the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) and the Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM), will ultimately be part of the operational measurements made by the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) satellites beginning in 2013. Solar irradiance has been monitored since the 1970s to create a long-term record for study by researchers.

"The spacecraft and instruments have all been performing beautifully since launch, and the new solar data exceed all of our expectations," said Gary Rottman, SORCE Principal Investigator at University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) in Boulder, Colorado. "The sun also cooperated by putting on an unusual display of intense activity in late October that provided some of the largest sunspots ever recorded and produced major flares surpassing all previous observations. These unexpected phenomena will help us better understand how the sun functions and how it influences the terrestrial environment."

"For the very first time we have observations capable of characterizing simultaneously the variations in the total solar irradiance and in the visible and near infrared part of the solar electromagnetic spectrum that provides the primary energy to the Earth’s surface," said Dr. Judith Lean, Research Physicist at the Naval Research Laboratories and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. "Simple models exist of solar spectrum variability, which general circulation models use to simulate climate response to solar forcing. SORCE data already indicate the models need to be revised at infrared wavelengths; they promise unprecedented new understanding of the mechanisms of solar spectral-irradiance variability and their possible climatic impacts."

SORCE is a joint partnership between NASA and LASP. As a principal investigator-led mission, NASA provided management oversight and engineering support. Scientists and engineers at the University of Colorado designed, built, calibrated and tested the four science instruments on the satellite. The Mission Operations Center and the Science Operations Center are both located at the University.

Lynn Chandler | GSFC
Further information:
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/2004/0219sorce.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints
16.02.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba
15.02.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>