The prelaunch spectral-sensitivity calibration of the solar spectrometer SUMER (Solar Ultraviolet Measurements of Emitted Radiation) is described. SUMER is part of the payload of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), which begins its scientific mission in 1996. The instrument consists of a telescope and a spectrometer capable of taking spatially and spectrally highly resolved images of the Sun in a spectral range from 50 to 161 nm. The pointing capabilities, the dynamic range, and the sensitivity of the instrument allow measurements both on the solar disk and above the limb as great as two solar radii. To determine plasma temperatures and densities in the solar atmosphere, the instrument needs an absolute spectral-sensitivity calibration. Here we describe the prelaunch calibration of the full instrument, which utilizes a radiometric transfer-standard source. The transfer standard was based on a high-current hollow-cathode discharge source. It had been calibrated in the laboratory for vacuum UV radiometry of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt by use of the calculable spectral photon flux of the Berlin electron storage ring for synchrotron radiation (BESSY)—a primary radiometric source standard.
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