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Fwd: ESA's New SOHO Science Archive Now Online

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  • mahtezcatpoc
    http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=45900 ESA s new SOHO science archive now online European Space Agency 23 Nov 2009 Access to data
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 25, 2009
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      http://sci.esa.int/science-e/www/object/index.cfm?fobjectid=45900

      ESA's new SOHO science archive now online
      European Space Agency
      23 Nov 2009

      Access to data from the ESA-NASA SOHO mission has just become easier
      with the launch of a new SOHO science archive with enhanced capabilities
      for searching and visualising the vast SOHO data archive. This is the
      first in a new generation of science archives under development at ESA's
      European Space Astronomy Centre.

      Since operations began in 1995 the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
      (SOHO) has been transmitting data from its twelve scientific instruments
      back to Earth at a rate of 1 Gigabyte per day. Analysis of this data has
      resulted in ground-breaking scientific results which have included the
      first images of a star's convection zone and the structure of sunspots
      below the photosphere; the most precise measurements of the temperature
      structure, interior rotation, and gas flow in the solar interior; the
      discovery of new dynamic phenomena such as coronal waves and solar
      tornadoes, and the discovery of more than 1600 comets.

      The recently launched ESA SOHO Science Archive allows for seamless
      access to the complete archive of science data sets from the 12
      instruments as soon as the data are processed. A Graphical User
      Interface, based on state-of-the-art technology, provides both the
      expert and layman with access to a wide variety of data including
      helioseismic measurements of the centre of the Sun, full-disc images of
      the solar atmosphere in different wavelengths, and measurements of the
      solar wind filling the interplanetary media. The ability to generate
      on-the-fly sequences of images facilitates viewing in minutes processes
      that take days or months in real time. This type of tool has contributed
      to discoveries of new solar phenomena, such as the aforementioned
      coronal waves, solar tornadoes, and even new comets.

      Innovation and interoperability are key to the new archive

      One of the challenges in developing the new archive was to find a way to
      provide a quick response to queries of a complex database of more than 2
      million solar observations. The complex relations between the data
      fields resulted in slow responses when using traditional database
      searches. This was overcome by applying the Dijkstra graph theory search
      algorithm to database searches. By generating table joins "on-the-fly",
      database searches are improved resulting in better response times when
      compared to the traditional approach. A simple query of all observations
      within the SOHO science archive, for instance, takes less than a second
      to return results, a response that could not be achieved using the
      traditional methods.

      Enhanced functionality in the archive is provided by the 'Time
      Animator', a platform-independent tool that instantly generates video
      sequences of the Sun. Several imaging instruments can be selected at one
      time to create parallel video sequences.

      The new archive has been developed in compliance with protocols defined
      by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA). In addition,
      scientific requirements from the community have been gathered by the
      Archive Scientists and converted into functionalities within the
      archives. These two factors along with the ability to interface with
      standard analysis tools that are also VO compliant renders this archive
      an essential tool in solar research.

      Preserving the legacy of the ESA science missions

      The SOHO science archive is the first in a series of new generation
      scientific archives being developed and implemented by the Science
      Archives and Virtual Observatory Team at the European Space Astronomy
      Centre in Spain. These archives will contribute to preserving the legacy
      of ESA's science missions by conserving and providing access to data
      from all of these missions.


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