Apart from contributing to solar and stellar physics, knowledge of the interaction between the solar energy flux and Earth's atmosphere is of great importance for atmospheric modelling, atmospheric chemistry and climatology.

SOLAR, studies the Sun with unprecedented accuracy across most of its spectral range. This is currently scheduled to last two years. SOLAR is located on the Columbus External Payload Facility zenith position (i.e. pointing away from the Earth).

The SOLAR payload consists of three instruments complementing each other to allow measurements of the solar spectral irradiance throughout virtually the whole electromagnetic spectrum - from 17 nm to 100 μm - in which 99% of the solar energy is emitted.

The three complementary solar science instruments are:

SOVIM (SOlar Variable and Irradiance Monitor), which covers near-UV, visible and thermal regions of the spectrum (200 nm – 100 μm) is developed by PMOD/WRC (Davos, Switzerland) with one of the instrument’s radiometers provided by IRM (Brussels, Belgium).

SOLSPEC (SOLar SPECctral Irradiance measurements) covers the 180 nm – 3 000 nm range. SOLSPEC is developed by CNRS (Verrières-le-Buisson, France) in partnership with IASB/BIRA (Belgium) and LSW (Germany).

SOL-ACES (SOLar Auto-Calibrating Extreme UV/UV Spectrophotometers) measures the EUV/UV spectral regime. SOL-ACES is developed by IPM (Freiburg, Germany).

SOVIM and SOLSPEC are upgraded versions of instruments that have already accomplished several space missions. SOL-ACES is a newly developed instrument.

Last update: 23 July 2008

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