"solar sun simulator", 1960's patent


Senior Member
There is a small buzz online, claiming that NASA has a patent that imitates the sun, and are likely using it to create a false sun (or a 2nd sun), seen from the earth.
Artificial Sun

(it's a lengthy video, much is guesswork....)
Here is one of the patents mentioned, from 1966.... http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19710020816.pdf
(see patent lines 18 to 35)

I spent an hour researching this, and this is what I found, and wrote about it.....
Anyone care to add or correct this explanation ?
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Mick West

Staff member
There's plenty of Sun Simulators, of various types.

The most common use now is for testing solar panels. The simulator provides a consistent amount of light at a similar spectrum to the sun, and they can measure the response of the panel. Some of them rotate to test at different angles.

NASA, of course, has their own needs - as sunlight is a bit different in space, with no atmosphere to filter it. Here's some technical details of recent work on this - comparing a commercial X-25 sun simulator to one of their own design.


Senior Member
Yes, thanks. I assumed the light would be adjusted for sun rays (perhaps gamma rays too ?)
As you have noted.....the technology has vastly increased since the early 60's.
....but nowhere does this old patent claim to "create a false sun overhead" in the sky.
The old patent was referring to a terrestrial test chamber, but people like to hunt-and-peck the patent for words and phrases that seem to fit their story.

I remember back in art school (1980's), photosensitive printing plates could be "left in the sun", or more quickly and accurately could be exposed by a burnt rod arc light in a machine, like a xerox machine on super steroids....(more like a welding rod).....lol
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Senior Member
Vague attempts were proposed for mirrors to beam light to the earth, from sun-facing mirrors placed in orbit...
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