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Virtual Solar Observatory

Welcome to the Virtual Solar Observatory!

The VSO is a tool for investigating the physics of the Sun. Users may search existing databases for terrestrial and space-based observations, hiding the details of where the data is and what’s needed to get it. A researcher can use the VSO to search across multiple instruments and events, to find datasets of interest, and having done that, transparently download them to their workstation.

There are many ways to use the VSO to search and download data. The main two ways are:

  1. Via our  web interface and
  2. Via  SolarSoft in IDL

Because we publish our API, users can use their favorite programming language to access the VSO including  SunPy and  WSDL.

The VSO web and data interfaces are a singular model mirrored across multiple sites such as the NASA Solar Data Archive Center, the National Solar Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. The data archives themselves are distributed, residing with the groups that designed, built and used the instruments to collect the data; they possess the expertise required to fully exploit the data.

Data Products

We have observations available from sources as diverse as NASA’s space-bourne Solar Dynamics Observatory and the ground-based GONG instrument. Observations go back nearly 100 years, such as from the Mt Wilson 60ft spectro-heliograph. We are proud of our international partnerships and we are always looking to serve more data whenever possible. A current list of our data providers can be found here:  http://vso.nascom.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/show_details.pl?keyword=PROVIDER

Our data is generally provided as FITS files but may also be in other standards, such as XML or HDF.

Contact Us

If you have problems with this site, please contact the site admin, with the nature of the problem.

For general problems or questions, please visit our two google mail groups at  http://groups.google.com/group/vso-api and  http://groups.google.com/group/vso-idl

News

The VSO Documentation Site is being updated

2014 May 28

This website hadn't been updated in some time, but we are in the process of tightening up our categories to make the documentation more helpful. Please bear with us as we construct new pages.

Recent Meetings

The recent presentation list needs to be updated; older presentations can be found at Past Meetings

Data Model

The current version of the data model is Version 1.8 (updated 2005 May 20).

Frequently Asked Questions

User Questions

  1. How do I search for data using the VSO?
  2. How do I get the data?
  3. What are the holdings of each data provider?
  4. How can I get a URL to the data products that I've found?
  5. How can I make a movie?
  6. Why do I get records I wasn't expecting when I search?
  7. Why do I get fewer records than I was expecting when I search?
  8. How do I search for data using catalogs?

Data Provider Questions

  1. How can I become a data provider?

Application Programmer Questions

  1. How can I access the VSO through my own interface?
  2. How can I get the browse images (jpeg, png, gif, etc) for observations?
  3. How can I get a URL to the data products?

Also see our infrequently asked questions list.

Bug Reports

Please select 'New Ticket' from the menu at the top of the screen.