Abstract

The solar irradiance curves compiled by Wehrli [Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Publ. 615 (World Radiation Center, Davosdorf, Switzerland, 1985)] and by Neckel and Labs [Sol. Phys. 90, 205 (1984)] are widely used. These curves were obtained based on measurements of solar radiation from the ground and from aircraft platforms. Contaminations in these curves by atmospheric gaseous absorptions were inevitable. A technique for deriving the transmittance spectrum of the Sun’s atmosphere from high-resolution (0.01 cm−1) solar occultation spectra measured above the Earth’s atmosphere by the use of atmospheric trace molecule spectroscopy (ATMOS) aboard the space shuttle is described. The comparisons of the derived ATMOS solar transmittance spectrum with the two solar irradiance curves show that the curve derived by Wehrli contains many absorption features in the 2.0–2.5-μm region that are not of solar origin, whereas the curve obtained by Neckel and Labs is completely devoid of weak solar absorption features that should be there. An Earth atmospheric oxygen band at 1.268 μm and a water-vapor band near 0.94 μm are likely present in the curve obtained by Wehrli. It is shown that the solar irradiance measurement errors in some narrow spectral intervals can be as large as 20%. An improved solar irradiance spectrum is formed by the incorporation of the solar transmittance spectrum derived from the ATMOS data into the solar irradiance spectrum from Neckel and Labs. The availability of a new solar spectrum from 50 to 50 000 cm−1 from the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory is also discussed.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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