The sub’s structure and characteristics determine the nature of the energy it radiates into space. Tire first major topic in this chapter concerns the characteristics of this energy outside the earth’s atmosphere, its intensity, and its spectra! distribution. We wifi be concerned primarily with radiation in a wavelength range of 0.25 to 3.0 /tm, the portion of the electromagnetic radiation that includes most of the energy radiated by the sun.
4he second major topic in this chapter is solar geometry, that is, the position of the sun in the sky, the direction in which beam radiation is incident on surfaces of various orientations, and shading. The third topic is extraterrestrial radiation on a horizontal surface, which represents the theoretical upper limit of solar radiation available at the earth’s surface.
An understanding of the nature of extraterrestrial radiation, the effects of orientation of a receiving surface, and the theoretically possible radiation at the earth’s surface is important in understanding and using solar radiation data, the subject of Chapter 2,