Helioviewer.org is operational

Helioviewer.org is now fully operational. Users should be able to make movies as normal, and use other features. If you are continuing to experience problems, please try reloading the webpage. If you continue to experience issues, please send an email to contact@helioviewer.org or post an issue at https://github.com/Helioviewer-Project/helioviewer.org/issues . We apologize for the previous problems with our services.

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Alternate Helioviewer Website

We are currently diagnosing an issue affecting the main helioviewer.org website. In the mean time, images and movies can be made using the legacy version of helioviewer at


On making a movie, it may not play on your browser. Please use the download button to download and view the movie.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and will bring the main website up as soon as we can.

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Temporary Service Outage on 25th January 2018

The helioviewer.org server will be brought down for maintenance in the afternoon (EST) of 25th January 2018. Down time is estimated to be on the order of a few minutes. We apologize for the interruption to our services.

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NEW! Difference images and movies now available on helioviewer.org

The Sun is a dynamic astrophysical object, and it is often easier to understand when looking at how it is changing.  This is the idea behind difference images.  You take an image of the Sun at one time, and subtract from an image at another time, and look at the difference.  The difference image shows you what has changed between one time and another.  Traditionally, difference images are shown in grayscale, with lighter values indicating a positive change – something got brighter – and darker values indicating a negative change (something got darker).

Helioviewer.org provides two types of difference images: running difference, and base difference.  With running difference images, the current image is subtracted from an image some short interval earlier.  For example, making a running difference movie with an interval of 15 minutes allows you to see how much the Sun has changed compared to 15 minutes ago. This allows you to see the dynamic, running changes in emission from the Sun.

With base difference images, the current image is subtracted from an image at some fixed earlier time. This allows you to see the total change compared to that earlier time.

Both types of images and movies are useful scientifically.  Please see the user guide for more information on difference images.

If you encounter any bugs in this new functionality, or for any other questions, please contact us at contact@helioviewer.org.

An example running difference movie showing the evolution of a flaring limb active region.

A zoom in on the same region for the same time range as above, but this time using a base difference.

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Helioviewer Project Services To Be Temporarily Suspended on 6 March 2017

Helioviewer Project services (helioviewer.org, api.helioviewer.org and JHelioviewer connections at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center) will be suspended temporarily later today (6 March 2017) for necessary maintenance.  The outage is anticipated to start around 4pm Eastern Standard Time.  We anticipate that services will be suspended for about 24 hours.  Normal service will resume as soon as possible.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

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New! Improved movie generation including 4K video

We have added more options when creating a movie.  After you have selected the data and area you want you’ll see the new “Advanced Settings” option in the bottom left hand corner of the movie settings dialog:

If you click on that the dialog will be replaced with the one below.  You can now specify the exact start and end times of your movie.

The size drop-down menu allows you to specify the size of the video you want – HD, Full HD, Quad HD or 4K/Ultra HD.

Helioviewer will automatically resize the movie to give you the best resolution video available at the size of the video you request.  Helioviewer will remember if you are using the advanced or regular movie settings for making movies.

If you would like any other movie formats included, or if you encounter any problems using this new functionality, please let us know.  Thanks for using the Helioviewer Project!

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YouTube Sharing Re-enabled

The transition to using the HTTPS protocol broke Helioviewer’s YouTube sharing capability. We tracked down the source of the bug and have fixed it. YouTube sharing has now been re-enabled.  Please let us know if you continue to encounter any problems sharing videos from Helioviewer.org to YouTube.

We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for using the Helioviewer Project.

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Warning concerning Helioviewer.org Movie and Screenshot Histories

Helioviewer.org is moving to using HTTPS instead of HTTP.  This means that all communications between your browser and helioviewer.org are encrypted. The switch to using HTTPS only will happen on September 30th.  An unfortunate side effect of this is that your helioviewer.org movie and screenshot histories will be lost.  This is due to security features in your browser, which are explained below.

Helioviewer.org uses the HTML5 LocalStorage property to store your links to the movies on your computer.  LocalStorage does not allow data from a regular HTTP page (for example http://htmlui.com) to be accessed by pages served from its HTTPS version (for example, https://htmlui.com, and vice versa.  This is done to improve security; for example, you want to isolate values created during a secure session from unsecured sessions.  The practical effect of this security is that when we switch to using HTTPS, the histories created when helioviewer.org was using HTTP cannot be accessed by your web browser when helioviewer.org starts to use HTTPS.  So your movie and screenshot histories will not be viewable in helioviewer.org.

The switch to using HTTPS does not affect any movie links to helioviewer.org.  If you have a link for example, http://helioviewer.org/?movieId=KSJd5 , then the server will automatically switch to using the secure version, https://helioviewer.org/?movieId=KSJd5 .  Please make a note of any movie links you want to keep a hold of.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  If you have questions concerning the change from HTTP to HTTPS, please let us know.


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Helioviewer.org 3.1 released

The Helioviewer Project is pleased to announce that Helioviewer.org 3.1 is now available. This new version of helioviewer.org adds two new features, an event timeline and improved YouTube movie browsing.

The event timeline allows you to pan backwards and forwards in time, and zoom in and out, browsing what happened and when it happened on the Sun.  It is accessible via a tab at the bottom of the viewer window, and works in the same way as the image timeline.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 4.30.15 PM


The YouTube movie browser now allows you to see if any shared movies include the date and time you are looking at.  It’s a way of finding out what other people have seen on the Sun.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 5.06.22 PM


This new feature was suggested by a user of helioviewer.org. If you have a suggestion of how to improve helioviewer.org, please email us at contact@helioviewer.org.

Thanks, and we hope that you enjoy this new version of helioviewer.org.

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Most recent LASCO and STEREO images temporarily unavailable.

The computer that converts most recently acquired LASCO and STEREO observations to images served via the Helioviewer Project suffered a hardware failure on June 6 2016.  This means that LASCO and STEREO images from June 6 2016 onwards are currently not available via the Helioviewer Project clients such as helioviewer.org and JHelioviewer.   We apologize for the temporary unavailability of these images and any inconvenience it may cause.  We hope to have the pipeline that supplies the most recent images up and running again in the next couple of weeks.  Images before June 6 2016 are available as normal.

In the mean time, users can find near real time LASCO images at the SOHO homepage and the most recent STEREO images at the STEREO mission page.

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One week from today: Transit of Mercury, May 9 2016

Mercury will transit the disk of the Sun on May 9 from 11:20 to 18:45 UTC. This is a rare event, and it will be observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.  The last transit observable from the Earth was on November 8, 2006 and the next one won’t be visible until November 11 2019. Remember:

Never look at the uneclipsed Sun with unprotected eyes!
Always use sun-safe optics to look at the Sun.

The row of black dots indicate where Mercury will pass.  SDO will be making special observations of the transit, and will be providing near-real time updates of images as they come.  These observations allow SDO scientists to better understand how the Sun is oriented on SDO’s cameras.

Helioviewer will also be providing the images SDO.  Check back on May 9 2016 to watch Mercury transit the Sun!


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A New Generation of JHelioviewer Now Available

The Helioviewer Project is pleased to announce that a new generation of JHelioviewer is available for download from http://jhelioviewer.org and http://sidc.be/jhelioviewer.

JHelioviewer is an open-source application for visualization of solar images based on the JPEG 2000 standard. It is part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project and another client to the Helioviewer web services alongside the Helioviewer.org web application. Since 2013, the whole software stack was revisited under ESA Contract No. 4000107325/12/NL/AK, commonly referred to as “Space Weather HelioViewer”. Many of the new additions will be of particular interest to the Space Weather community.

The new JHelioviewer “2.10” is significantly faster and more robust while offering a large number of new features, e.g.:

  • Access to new datasets (GONG, SOLIS, etc.) from 3 different servers (GSFC, ROB, IAS)
  • Combined view from different vantage points (e.g. STEREO and SDO) for full sphere mapping
  • Image projections such as orthographic, latitudinal and polar
  • Yet more viewing options, such as running and base differences, and a side-by-side (multi-view) mode
  • Timeline datasets viewing, synchronized with the time of the current image
  • Integration of features and events from the Heliophysics Events Knowledgebase (HEK), and alerts from the COMESEP system.
  • Magnetic field line extrapolations

A full description of the installation, running of the software and new features can be found in the online user manual.

The work was carried out by SIDC @ Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB). The new JHelioviewer will continue to undergo improvements in the future, meanwhile feedback is welcome at swhv – at – sidc.be .

Screenshot of JHelioviewer 2.10

Screenshot of JHelioviewer 2.10

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Helioviewer.org 3.0 released

The Helioviewer Project is pleased to announce that Helioviewer.org 3.0 is now available. Try the quick interactive tutorial under the new Help (“?”) button for a quick introduction to the new Helioviewer.org.

Helioviewer.org 3.0 is a major redesign of the interface. The reason for the change was the desire to provide new capabilities to our users including:

– Image Timeline: quickly scan forward and back in time to find out which images are available when.
– Connect to science data providers such as the Virtual Solar Observatory and the Solar Dynamics Observatory Data Cutout Service.
– Automatically generate Solarsoft/IDL data download scripts from movie requests.

Please check out the updated user guide to find out more about Helioviewer.org 3.0. We have plans to make more and different data types available, and to add new features in the next few months.

Please send any comments and bug reports to contact@helioviewer.org, and thank you for using the Helioviewer Project.

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Direct Helioviewer.org to YouTube Video Uploading Now Available

We are pleased to announce that it is once again possible to upload movies directly from helioviewer.org to your YouTube account. This feature should work just as it did earlier on this year. If you choose to share your movie with other users of helioviewer.org, a clickable image link to your movie will appear on the right hand side of the helioviewer.org application.

We apologize for the delay in returning this functionality to helioviewer.org. If you have any problems using this function of helioviewer.org, please let us know.

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Beta release helioviewer.org 3.0 now available for testing

We are pleased to announce the availability of a beta release of helioviewer.org version 3.0. The beta release can be found at http://beta3.helioviewer.org. We are looking for bug reports, suggestions and comments on version 3.

This new version paves the way for many new features we are planning for the next year. The first new feature connects the images you see in Helioviewer to the science data. If you click the

data icon

icon you will get a dialog that looks something like this:


This panel connects the images you see to our partner data services, the Virtual Solar Observatory and the SDO cutout service. You can also download an automatically generated SunPy/Python or Solarsoft/IDL script; running the script will allow you to download the requested data.

A couple of things to note about this beta release:

(1) Recent images will NOT be available through http://beta3.helioviewer.org.

(2) YouTube movie uploading and Bitly link shortening are not available.

(3) Bug reports and suggestions for improvements are welcome!

data icon
Please email contact@helioviewer.org or post a comment on the blog – we really would appreciate your feedback.

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