Solar Influences

UV image of the sun

This image was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which carries the LASP-built Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) that provides measurements of the sun’s UV energy. (Courtesy NASA/GSFC/AIA)

Light from the Sun is the largest source of energy for Earth’s atmosphere. The Solar Influences group at LASP studies the light from the Sun and how it interacts with the Earth and other planets. In particular, we are interested in:

  • Measuring the light that the Sun emits (total irradiance)
  • Distribution of that light over the spectrum, from x-rays to the infrared (spectral irradiance)
  • How and why light from the Sun varies in time from seconds to months to years to centuries
  • How solar light affects Earth’s climate and atmosphere
  • The ways solar light affects space weather applications that impact space-based technology and human exploration in space

We answer these questions through a combination of measurements, analysis, and modeling. The LASP Solar Influences group builds accurate and precise instruments to measure the light from the Sun and we analyze the data from those instruments. We also model the Sun, how it emits light, and how that light interacts with Earth’s atmosphere.

The LASP Solar Influences group focuses on Sun and climate, space weather, and solar modeling. We also maintain an archive for all the solar irradiance data sets measured by our instruments; see the LASP Interactive Solar Irradiance Datacenter (LISIRD).

In addition to professional scientists, the Solar Influences group actively trains the next generation of scientists by involving graduate and undergraduate students in all of our research projects.

Click on the image for a PDF (721 KB) of LASP Solar Influences.