Movie queue reset this morning


Well, we were hoping it wouldn’t come to this, but unfortunately we had to reset the movie queue this morning, deleting many requests which were made during the last couple days. The reason for the reset is that our server was overwhelmed with requests, to the point where new requests had estimated wait times in numbers of days, which is unreasonable. We looked into many different options, and tried some (including reducing the size of the movies made), but nothing was able to completely solve our problems: the time it would have taken to completely catch-up would have meant that even if other new exciting solar events were to occur, videos of those events would not be processed until days later!

In the future we will try and take measures to keep this from happening again. The last couple of days have made us look at the services we provide in a whole new way, thanks to the huge interest from you, our users, and we are grateful for that. We are constrained by our resources, so we may not be able to process many more movies each minute any time soon, but what we can do is make it easier for users to find other movies that are out there that have already been made. Thousands of movies have been made by users on Helioviewer.org, but right now there is no simple way to search through those movies and find the ones you are interested in. Further, we will also take some measures to make the users more aware of what the current wait time is before they submit a movie request, and also provide them with an option to cancel the request if they decide they do not want to wait for the movie. All of this will make it easier for you to get to the movies you want.

We apologize to all of the users who have queued movies during the last couple days that did not get processed. If you are still interested in making a movies please go ahead and queue it up again. Hopefully we will not have to take such extreme measures again. Thanks to you all for your patience.

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  1. #1 by Giuseppe Galletta on June 13, 2011 - 8:32 am

    I think the problem arise because, when an event occurs, most part of movies are generated by users that have not a clear idea of the options to use (e.g. that the movie will be centered on the displayed time).
    In my case, I need a good movie for teaching Astronomy and I cannot find it among that created by users. Some are slow enough to comment the phenomenon in the classroom but are zoomed on the spot and it is impossible to see the evolution; others are taking the whole solar disk but are too fast.

    I suggest in these cases to produce: 1) a wide field, high-resolution, slow (1 sec time step) and may be huge movie; 2) a smaller and faster version.
    The first may be used for studying and teaching, the other for “just curious” people.

    Prof. Giuseppe Galletta – Padua University

    • #2 by keith on June 13, 2011 - 3:06 pm

      Hi Prof. Galletta,
      Thanks for the suggestions. One of the things we want to do next to improve the interface is to do a better job explaining how they movie will be created, and provide users with a finer level of control over how the movie is built. Unfortunately, with regards to creating single second cadence movies we are limited by the data we are able to store. For instance, images are taken for many of the AIA wavelengths once every 12 seconds, however, because of the large amounts of data this entails, we are only able to store every third image on Helioviewer. This means that the finest time-scale movie you could create right would have one image every 36 seconds. In the future, as data storage becomes cheaper and cheaper we hope to fill in the missing data if possible, and also add support for future missions such as ATST which will collect data at the millisecond resolution.

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