Tom Woods, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Technical Divisions
Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Physics (LASP)
Solar Research at LASP:
Aerospace Engineering Applications
The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) has a robust program to observe the solar irradiance from a variety of NASA and NOAA satellites, and a primary motivation for these measurements is because the Sun is the primary external energy source for Earth and its near-space environment. The solar photon radiation provides heat to Earth's atmosphere, surface, and ocean and is responsible for the photochemistry, such as ozone, in our atmosphere. Under-standing the variations of the Sun's radiation is important for climate change research, in particular on what part of climate change is related to natural causes such as solar variability versus what is human-induced changes such as by greenhouse gases. In addition, the solar ultraviolet radiation and also solar wind particles deposit their energy into the upper atmosphere where our satellites dwell, and our satellite technology, such as communication and navigation, can thus be suddenly degraded or even disrupted when there are large solar storms. For this reason, watching for and predicting solar storms is a key part of our national space weather program. For these research efforts, LASP is involved in defining the solar irradiance measurement and mission requirements, designing and fabricating scientific instruments for these measurements, system engineering of the instruments and sometimes spacecraft, testing and calibrating the instruments, launching and operating the satellites, and data analysis to obtain the scientific results. A description of some of the solar irradiance satellite projects at LASP will be presented, along with some science results and engineering applications from these projects.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Eaton Conference Room
12:00 noon - 1:00 pm
Refreshments will be served!