Time-dependent 3D visualisation of solar and heliospheric data
1 European Space Agency, ESTEC, PO Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
2 Royal Observatory of Belgium, Ringlaan – 3 – Av. Circulaire, 1180 Brussels, Belgium
3 University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, 5210 Windisch, Switzerland
4 Department of Informatics, University of Almería, 04120 Almería, Spain
5 ADNET Systems Inc., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
6 ESA Operations Department, c/o NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Received: 30 March 2017
Accepted: 15 May 2017
Context. Solar observatories are providing the world-wide community with a wealth of data, covering wide time ranges (e.g. Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO), multiple viewpoints (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory, STEREO), and returning large amounts of data (Solar Dynamics Observatory, SDO). In particular, the large volume of SDO data presents challenges; the data are available only from a few repositories, and full-disk, full-cadence data for reasonable durations of scientific interest are difficult to download, due to their size and the download rates available to most users. From a scientist’s perspective this poses three problems: accessing, browsing, and finding interesting data as efficiently as possible.
Aims. To address these challenges, we have developed JHelioviewer, a visualisation tool for solar data based on the JPEG 2000 compression standard and part of the open source ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project. Since the first release of JHelioviewer in 2009, the scientific functionality of the software has been extended significantly, and the objective of this paper is to highlight these improvements.
Methods. The JPEG 2000 standard offers useful new features that facilitate the dissemination and analysis of high-resolution image data and offers a solution to the challenge of efficiently browsing petabyte-scale image archives. The JHelioviewer software is open source, platform independent, and extendable via a plug-in architecture.
Results. With JHelioviewer, users can visualise the Sun for any time period between September 1991 and today; they can perform basic image processing in real time, track features on the Sun, and interactively overlay magnetic field extrapolations. The software integrates solar event data and a timeline display. Once an interesting event has been identified, science quality data can be accessed for in-depth analysis. As a first step towards supporting science planning of the upcoming Solar Orbiter mission, JHelioviewer offers a virtual camera model that enables users to set the vantage point to the location of a spacecraft or celestial body at any given time.
Key words: Sun: general / Sun: activity / virtual observatory tools / methods: observational / methods: data analysis / methods: numerical
© ESO, 2017