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Proceedings Paper

Monitoring solar irradiance from L2 with Gaia
Author(s): E. Serpell
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Paper Abstract

Gaia is the European Space Agency’s cornerstone astrometry mission to measure the positions of a billion stars in the Milky Way with unprecedented accuracy. Since early 2014 Gaia has been operating in a halo orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point that provides the stable thermal environment, without Earth eclipses, needed for the payload to function accurately. The spacecraft is equipped with a number of thermally isolated, sun-facing thermistors that provide a continuous measurement of the local equilibrium temperature. As a consequence of the spacecraft design and operational conditions these temperature measurements have been used to infer the solar output over a broad wavelength range. In this paper we present an analysis of temperature measurements made of the Gaia solar panels at frequencies of up to 1 Hz for the first 35 months of routine operations. We show that the Gaia solar panel temperature measurements are capable of precisely determining short term changes to the solar output at a level of better than 0.04% with time constants of a few minutes.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 September 2017
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10398, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VIII, 1039817 (5 September 2017);
Show Author Affiliations
E. Serpell, European Space Operations Ctr. (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10398:
UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VIII
Howard A. MacEwen; James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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