Change in the Radiative Output of the Sun in 1992 and Its Effect in the Thermosphere
PHILLIPS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
Pagination or Media Count:
Ground and space measurements of the solar spectral irradiance at radio, visible, UV, and X ray wavelengths show a large decline in the first 6 months of 1992. This sustained drop in the solar output is important in understanding the connection between the emergent magnetic flux on the Sun and the radiative output as well as in understanding the effects of such change in the upper atmosphere of the earth. We present preliminary estimates of the observed changes as the means to spur inquiry into this solar event in the declining phase of solar cycle 22. Typical decreases are 15 in Lyman alpha 40 in 10.7-cm radio flux. Mass spectrometer and incoherent scatter model calculations at 600 km in the thermosphere indicate a 30 decrease in the temperature and a 3X decrease in the density of the thermosphere near the altitude where both the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite UARS and Hubble Space Telescope are flying. Decrease of the orbital period of the UARS shows the expected effect of decreasing density at flight altitude. Work in progress indicates that the output change results from the decline in solar magnetic flux to a lower level of activity in the southern hemisphere of the Sun.
- Atmospheric Physics