SolACES, the solar spectrometer developed by Fraunhofer IPM and installed on the ISS, supplied unique measurement data on solar activity for nine years. As the SOLAR research mission has come to an end, the successful experiment was ceremoniously deactivated on 15 February 2017 at the B.USOC control centre in Brussels.
The SolACES solar spectrometer flew to the International Space Station in February 2008 as part of the SOLAR research mission. Its planned lifetime was one and a half years. Yet SolACES reliably supplied data on the sun’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrum for nine years. Together with other measurement data, the SolACES data today forms the basis for modern climate models.
The SOLAR research mission successfully supplied measurement data on the solar spectrum for a period of nine years – with the help of Fraunhofer IPM’s »SolACES« EUV spectrometer.
ESA – European Space Agency
Perhaps SolACES most important result was furnishing proof that the current solar cycle features a considerably lower energy level for EUV radiation than preceding cycles. If this trend continues and is shown to hold true for other spectral regions as well, it could indicate that a lower temperature rise in our atmosphere due to solar radiation can, at least a little, counteract anticipated major global warming.
One mission – three instruments
The SOLAR research mission comprised three scientific experiments aimed at studying the sun: SOLSPEC from France, the Swiss SOVIM and SolACES from Fraunhofer IPM. These three experiments – each in its own sector – were intended to gather information on the solar spectrum.
Their task was to determine the sun’s total energy input into our climate system and to separate it from the climatic influences resulting from the impact of man. It is only on the basis of these very accurate solar radiation values that we can use modern climate models to clarify how individual climate factors interact and contribute to global warming.
The challenge of space
SolACES was used to measure extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation absorbed by the atmosphere and which thus cannot be measured from Earth. EUV radiation is directly related to solar activity and thus allows us to draw conclusions as regards solar energy input into our climate system.
Measuring the highly variable EUV region is extremely difficult. Consequently, Fraunhofer IPM developed a method which allows correction of spectrometer degradation typical of conditions in space and thus permits highly accurate measurement of the fluctuations in solar radiation.
So this was the first time scientists managed to continuously calibrate EUV spectrometers in space and thus limit measurement error to 10 percent – an accuracy which had not been achieved before. This measuring accuracy was crucial to the European Space Agency’s decision to prolong the experiment’s lifetime twice to a total of nine years. The laboratory is thus the longest running research experiment to have taken place on the ISS.
SolACES sets standards
SOLAR was ceremoniously deactivated on 15 February 2017 at the B.USOC control centre in Brussels, exactly nine years to the day after it commenced operation. There was a lot to celebrate: firstly, the performance of the measuring systems and the measuring method itself had been improved continuously and near-optimised. Secondly, thanks to SOLAR, climate research now has a dataset on solar activity whose quantity and quality are unparalleled.
This is why the measurements are to continue: a new measuring concept is to be developed for this in cooperation with the renowned World Radiation Centre in Davos. This concept involves combining SolACES spectrometers with highly precise Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) detectors and thus allowing the established SolACES measuring method to be utilised for the entire spectral region.
https://livestream.com/ESA/solar Video showing deactivation of SOLAR at the B.USOC control centre on 15 February 2017
Holger Kock | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Clear as mud: Desiccation cracks help reveal the shape of water on Mars
20.04.2018 | Geological Society of America
Hurricane Harvey: Dutch-Texan research shows most fatalities occurred outside flood zones
19.04.2018 | European Geosciences Union
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy