AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 76. Advanced Solar Space Missions and Ground-based Instruments
Solar, Display, Wednesday, June 2, 1999, 10:00am-6:30pm, Southeast Exhibit Hall

[Previous] | [Session 76] | [Next]

[76.08] The Solar Bolometric Imager -A New Direction in Solar Irradiance Studies

S. Libonate, P.V. Foukal (CRI)

The Solar Bolometric Imager (SBI) is a novel solar imaging system with spectrally constant photometric response over all wavelengths between the UV and IR, which will provide a new tool for studying mechanisms of total irradiance variation. The SBI utilizes an 80,000 pixel, uncooled thermal IR imaging array whose spectral absorptance has been modified by CRI to provide uniform response over the wavelength range between at least 0.3 um and 2.5 um, containing 95% of the total solar irradiance. We have demonstrated that ferro-electric uncooled arrays can be modified to meet the SBI's spectral uniformity requirements with the deposition of gold blacks, and we have also identified two promising approaches for modifying the spectral absorptance of uncooled microbolometer arrays. A modified 8-bit Raytheon ferro-electric camera is being tested in the lab and on a telescope, while a 12-bit camera that will accommodate either ferro-electric or microbolometer arrays, is under development. The prototype SBI telescope utilizes a Dall-Kirkham design with uncoated (i.e. bare glass) primary and secondary mirrors in order to provide uniform spectral response and reduce the irradiance at the focal plane. Our present research focuses on image quality, photometric precision, stray light, and solar heating in this ground-based, prototype SBI. Ultimately, the SBI will be used to measure and remove temporal variations in solar irradiance due to photospheric magnetic structures, so that the importance of residual variations that may drive secular climate variations associated with global warming, can be determined. Much of the science potential of the SBI could be realized in a balloon experiment while the combination of the SBI and a cavity radiometer would constitute an excellent SMEX experiment to address a key challenge identified in the Sun-Earth Connection Roadmap issued by NASA/OSS. This work is supported by NASA research grant number NAG5-6979.

If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries, it is a s follows:


[Previous] | [Session 76] | [Next]