Journal cover Journal topic
History of Geo- and Space Sciences An open-access journal
Journal topic
Volume 6, issue 1
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 6, 3-22, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-6-3-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Hist. Geo Space. Sci., 6, 3-22, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hgss-6-3-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Review article 18 Mar 2015

Review article | 18 Mar 2015

Extreme ultraviolet spectral irradiance measurements since 1946

G. Schmidtke G. Schmidtke
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM, Heidenhofstrasse 8, 79110 Freiburg, Germany

Abstract. In the physics of the upper atmosphere the solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation plays a dominant role controlling most of the thermospheric/ionospheric (T/I) processes. Since this part of the solar spectrum is absorbed in the thermosphere, platforms to measure the EUV fluxes became only available with the development of rockets reaching altitude levels exceeding 80 km. With the availability of V2 rockets used in space research, recording of EUV spectra started in 1946 using photographic films. The development of pointing devices to accurately orient the spectrographs toward the sun initiated intense activities in solar–terrestrial research. The application of photoelectric recording technology enabled the scientists placing EUV spectrometers aboard satellites observing qualitatively strong variability of the solar EUV irradiance on short-, medium-, and long-term scales. However, as more measurements were performed more radiometric EUV data diverged due to the inherent degradation of the EUV instruments with time. Also, continuous recording of the EUV energy input to the T/I system was not achieved. It is only at the end of the last century that there was progress made in solving the serious problem of degradation enabling to monitore solar EUV fluxes with sufficient radiometric accuracy. The data sets available allow composing the data available to the first set of EUV data covering a period of 11 years for the first time. Based on the sophisticated instrumentation verified in space, future EUV measurements of the solar spectral irradiance (SSI) are promising accuracy levels of about 5% and less. With added low-cost equipment, real-time measurements will allow providing data needed in ionospheric modeling, e.g., for correcting propagation delays of navigation signals from space to earth. Adding EUV airglow and auroral emission monitoring by airglow cameras, the impact of space weather on the terrestrial T/I system can be studied with a spectral terrestrial irradiance camera (STI-Cam) and also be used investigating real-time space weather effects and deriving more detailed correction procedures for the evaluation of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals. Progress in physics goes with achieving higher accuracy in measurements. This review historically guides the reader on the ways of exploring the impact of the variable solar radiation in the extreme ultraviolet spectral region on our upper atmosphere in the altitude regime from 80 to 1000 km.

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