The Sun provides the dominant energy to the Earth system—heating the land and ocean, maintaining the atmosphere and sustaining and nurturing all life. It is essential that we understand the amount of solar energy input and how it varies. Accurately monitoring the Sun from the ground is nearly impossible because the atmosphere absorbs and scatters such a large fraction of the radiation. It was not until the 1950’s that rocket technology lifted instruments above the atmosphere and provided the required observations. Scientists at CU-Boulder were among the first to pursue this important research. Their observational program continues today at LASP with active satellite programs and new instruments under development.
Dr. Rottman will examine the solar record obtained at CU during the past 60 years. Special attention will be given to observations from the NASA Solar Mesosphere Explorer (SME) launched thirty years ago this October. LASP scientists directed that investigation, LASP engineers built the instruments, and staff and students operated the satellite from the Boulder campus for 7 ½ years. The SME mission is the paradigm of space research carried out at the University today.
Download Flyer (1.3 MB PDF)