Abstract

The present status of our knowledge of the total and spectral irradiance of the sun is briefly reviewed. The currently accepted NASA/ASTM standard values of the solar constant and the extraterrestrial solar spectral irradiance are presented. The uncertainties in these values are relatively high. Data on the variability of the solar constant are conflicting and inconclusive. The variability of solar spectral irradiance. is almost totally unknown and unexplored. Some alleged sun–weather relationships are cited in support of the need of knowing more precisely the variations in total and spectral solar irradiance. An overview of the solar monitoring program of NASA is presented, with special emphasis on the Solar Energy Monitor in Space (SEMIS) experiment which has been proposed for several of the spacecraft missions. It is a combination of a solar constant detector and a prism monochromator.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

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