Archive for July, 2011

User hightlight: venus visible in LASCO C3

Helioviewer and YouTube user atomlibre1 shared a video of the planet Venus moving across the SOHO LASCO C3 coronagraph’s field-of-view.

At the very start of the video the bright planet is already well within C3’s view. Coronal streamers are visible as well as a coronal mass ejection or CME at the end of the video. Planets and comets are often observed by LASCO, which views as far out as 30 solar radii (a solar radius is almost 700,000 kilometers) in distance out from the sun over 2 million kilometers. The planet is so bright, too much for C3’s CCD, that lines extend out from either side giving almost a flying saucer shape. Venus and other planets are often mistaken for flying saucers.

A close-up view of Venus showing the extended nature of Venus in C3 was shared by user RAPTURE5770.

The time and direction of planets moving through C3’s view (called a transit) are well known and calculations of past and future transits can be found on the website devoted to comets observed by LASCO especially sungrazers. This particular transit of venus will be in C3’s field-of-view from July 18, 2011 until September 15, 2011. Thanks for sharing atomlibre1 and RAPTURE5770!

For more about the rare event of Venus transits of the sun seen from Earth check out

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Helioviewer Project selected for ESA’s Summer of Code in Space 2011

We are happy to announce that the Helioviewer Project has been accepted as a mentoring organization for ESA’s pilot project Summer of Code in Space 2011!

We have a number of exciting open-source coding opportunities – applications are accepted until 27 July.

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User highlight: active region appearing on the Sun’s limb

YouTube and user galaxy387 shared this movie of an active region appearing on the limb of the Sun.

It’s a great example of the complex evolution that an active can undergo in a relatively short amount of time. Studying the evolution of active region loops on the limb cuts right through the loops themselves so you don’t see any of the disk emission along your line of sight, and so removes a potential source of confusion.

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User highlight: comet in LASCO-C2

YouTube and user galaxy387 posted the video below showing a comet falling towards the Sun.

LASCO (Large Angle Spectrometric COronagraph) on board the SOHO spacecraft has seen very many comets since it started observing in 1996. SOHO has reported over 2000 comets, almost all of them found by members of the public. Thanks to the many amateur observers that hunt for comets in SOHO data, SOHO has seen many more comets than any other mission (there was another bright comet observed on May 10-11, 2011. A lot of these comets come from the Kreutz sungrazer family of comets. There is an active community of comet hunters, so if you think you’ve discovered one – and it is certainly possible that you may have – please check the latest reports over there. Thanks for sharing, galaxy387!

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JHelioviewer 2.1.4 is out

Due to the growing user community of JHelioviewer and, our server traffic has increased significantly. This bug fix release, together with the deployment of our new open-source JPIP server addresses a number of bugs, some of which were related to high server load.

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