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Physics 1 Problem Solutions 265

Physics 1 Problem Solutions 265 - Chapt 34 Maxwells...

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Chapt. 34 Maxwell’s Equations, Electromagnetic Radiation and Special Relativity 261 034 qmult 10520 2 5 5 moderate thinking: solar constant and insolation fullmult 30. ∗∗ The solar constant I = 1366 W / m 2 on average (Wikipedia: Solar radiation, 2008feb18). In fact, it’s not exactly constant, due to varying Earth-Sun distance, sunspots, and the 11-year solar cycle. But averaged over those variations, it is really very constant which is good for life on Earth. The solar constant is the power per unit area (or intensity) on a sphere surrounding the Sun at the Earth’s distance from the Sun. i) What is the AVERAGE solar power per unit area on the spherical top of the Earth’s atmosphere? HINT: Remember the Earth’s a rotating sphere. Think of its cross-sectional area in respect to the solar light flux and its spherical atmosphere surface area. To good approximation the top of the Earth’s atmosphere has the same radius as the solid Earth.
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