The Sun is the dominant energy source for the Earth system. If the amount of sunlight changes there is a direct influence on our climate. In order to establish the impact humans have on climate, we must have solid knowledge of how the Sun varies on different timescales. LASP plays a major role in NASA’s effort to continually monitor the energy from the sun. For the past 50 years, LASP conducted sounding rocket and overlapping satellite programs to provide a long data record of the irradiance from the Sun. Perhaps the flagship program of LASP’s irradiance program is the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) launched in January 2003 and recently decommissioned at the end of February. SORCE successfully provided seventeen years of near continuous observations of solar irradiance and was the first to provide daily measurements of full spectral coverage from X-ray wavelengths, through the visible and into the infrared.
In this presentation, Gary Rottman—LASP scientist from 1972-2005 and the first SORCE principal investigator from 1989-2005—will discuss LASP’s decades of solar science missions and the contribution of SORCE to the critical, continuous solar data record. Rottman directed the development, launch, and early operations of SORCE until his retirement in 2005.