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Journal Articles Advances in Space Research Year : 2005

Past, present and future measurements of the solar diameter


The solar diameter, and its possible variation, have been the subject of careful measurements for over 350 years, with ever increasing accuracy. The importance of the knowledge of the diameter, and its variation, for solar physics, and climatology are pointed out. Different techniques have been used, and the instrumentation has evolved in time. This is why the long-term evolution of the Sun is still a controversial subject. Even for the short term of the 11-year solar cycle, the results are inconsistent even with the most advanced instruments presently in use. These discrepancies probably have several origins: the Earth's atmosphere, the spectral domain of observation, the stability of the instruments, and the data filtering techniques used. The absence of either internal angular calibration for most of them, or intercomparisons prior to the operational phase either from ground or space, make understanding the origin of the discrepancies difficult. Not all instruments suffer from all the above defects, but all instruments are affected by at least one of them. Furthermore, the lack of precise definition of what is measured is another source of confusion. We review the available results, and attempt to understand the origin of the discrepancies. Finally, a proposal for future measurements is made.

Dates and versions

hal-00078641 , version 1 (06-06-2006)



Gérard Thuillier, Sabatino Sofia, Margit Haberreiter. Past, present and future measurements of the solar diameter. Advances in Space Research, 2005, 35 (3), pp.329-340. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2005.04.021⟩. ⟨hal-00078641⟩
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