5 September 2017 Monitoring solar irradiance from L2 with Gaia
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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.
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E. Serpell, E. Serpell, } "Monitoring solar irradiance from L2 with Gaia", Proc. SPIE 10398, UV/Optical/IR Space Telescopes and Instruments: Innovative Technologies and Concepts VIII, 1039817 (5 September 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2273397; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2273397
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