Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 7 years ago

What does solar constant mean?

1 Answer

  • 7 years ago
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    The flux of energy that arrives from the Sun, at Earth's distance from the Sun (1 AU)

    it is approximately 1.36 to 1.37 kW/m²

    This is measured perpendicular to the direction of the flux (imagine holding a 1 square-metre panel directly facing the Sun), in space - before Earth's atmosphere has any effect on it (our atmosphere, clouds and snow will bouncs, on average, 37% of that back into space).

    The constant varies (every so slightly) over the 11-year cycle of activity of the Sun.

    The actual flux will vary according to Earth's position along its orbit (perihelion vs aphelion).

    It is called a "constant" because it can easily be used to calculate the flux to any other object, once you know its distance from the Sun in Astronomical Units (AU).

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