Archive for category Helioviewer.org

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

YouTube and helioviewer.org 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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2011/06/27 – AIA data availability problems

We apologize for the lack of new images from AIA. This is due to issues outwith our control. We create the images you see from AIA level 1.5 data products (the number refers to the degree of image calibration, etc., that has been applied to the raw data) that are processed at SDO Joint Science Operations Center. As you can see, those data appear to be lagging at the moment. As soon as the data returns, Helioviewer will automatically generate images and make them available.

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User highlight: contracting loops?

Helioviewer and YouTube user otraLoly spotted this interesting active region earlier on today.

Right at the very start you can see that loops on the southern side of the active region appear to contract (a CME and a prominence eruption are occuring). As the event progresses, you’ll notice that two dark areas appear in the coronal moss, outlined by some very bright, and small scale emission, which end up as loop footpoints to the subsequent loop brightening that occurs. This event is interesting for the detail it is possible to see in AIA, particularly in the brightening of the loop footpoints before the main bright loop occurs. Thanks to user otraLoly for sharing this video with users of helioviewer.org!

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Want to know more about the Helioviewer Project?

Helioviewer Logo
Dan Pendick recently posted an excellent series of articles about the Helioviewer Project on his blog, Geeked on Goddard. In five short articles Dan describes many of the different parts of the project, including Helioviewer.org and JHelioviewer. He also discusses some of the technologies that have made all of this possible. If you are interested in learning more about the project and how it all works, you should definitely check out the articles. Also, if you are a science/tech enthusiast I would highly recommend subscribing to Dan’s blog where you can learn more about some of the other cool projects that call the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center their home.

Topics covered:

Post 1 of 5: Explore the sun on your desktop with Helioviewer
Post 2 of 5: Getting Started with Helioviewer.org
Post 3 of 5: Explore the sun in depth with JHelioviewer
Post 4 of 5: How it works: building the Helioviewer “back end” with JPEG2000
Post 5 of 5: Helioviewer’s future: an Internet for solar image data

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High quality STEREO images now available

We are pleased to announce that the most recent, high quality STEREO images are now available on helioviewer.org.

The STEREO (Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory) mission is very different from the other missions (Solar Dynamics Observatory and SOHO) we feature on helioviewer.org.

First off, there are two spacecraft, called STEREO-A and STEREO-B. Both spacecraft orbit the Sun at roughly 1 AU (astronomical unit), or about as far away from Sun as the Earth is. However, STEREO-A is moving ahead of the Earth in its orbit, and STEREO-B is drifting behind the Earth in its orbit. This means that each STEREO spacecraft sees different parts of the Sun, parts that we can’t see from Earth. STEREO-B sees features on the Sun that we eventually see in SDO and SOHO, and STEREO-A allows us to see the continuing evolution of features that we did see in SDO and SOHO.

This plot shows where each spacecraft is now:

As you can see, they are quite far away from the Earth. This puts some operational constraints on each spacecraft that means we get high-quality images two days after they were taken. These are the data we are making available today; images from June 1st 2011, up to the most recently available data will be available initially. We ask for your patience, as we are uploading these images right now. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be making images from earlier in the mission available so that you can explore the Sun from many different angles over the past 4 1/2 years.

The benefit of seeing the Sun from many different angles is apparent when you look at the following three videos of the prominence eruption of June 7, 2011. The first one consists of images from SDO-AIA and SOHO-LASCO

We hope you enjoy these new images! As ever, please let us know if you spot any problems.

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Some video highlights from 2011

Although Tuesday’s eruption was certainly a wonderful sight, it isn’t the first time that SOHO and SDO were able to capture some really cool events in action.

Here are some videos of other events that from earlier this year, starting with a few of the videos from this week’s eruption:

http://youtu.be/G4Y6joDsEpI

http://youtu.be/Kl1192VFwg8

http://youtu.be/Nw8hXhv696g

http://youtu.be/LNgYxRs0hEk

http://youtu.be/nUfkZW7im_Y

http://youtu.be/WlxgQurWQ7w

http://youtu.be/9chp1IBlfoU

http://youtu.be/eRygKXBRSPs

http://youtu.be/wBklhlq3zZ4

http://youtu.be/2F7ta_opRT0

Note: Many of the videos above are from the YouTube channel “Helioviewer”. As of this week we are moving to a new location! If you want to see new videos that we post, subscribe instead to HelioviewerScience.

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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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Movie creation limits changed temporarily to meet high-demand

In response to the huge demand resulting from yesterday’s spectacular eruption, we are going to temporarily decrease the maximum size of the movies created on Helioviewer.org.

When you request a movie on Helioviewer.org we attempt to use as many images as are available for the requested time period, within a specified limit. Normally that limit is 300 images. For a single-layer movie this meant that the movie would be created using about 300 images. For multi-layer movies, the number of images allowed is divided by the number of layers included or order to deal with the increased strain. For instance, if you requested a two-layer movie (e.g. AIA 304 and LASCO C2), the limit would go become 300 / 2 = 150 images. Similarly, for a three-layer movie the limit would be 300 / 3 = 100 images. All of this is simply to make it possible to create movies in a reasonable amount of time, within the constraints of the server Helioviewer.org runs on.

In order for us to be able to process the large amount of movie requests waiting to be processed (currently about 3000), we are going to temporarily decrease the maximum movie image limit from 300 to 150. In order to keep the frame-rate high, we will also decrease the default movie duration by a proportionate amount: instead of each movie being 20 seconds long, movies will be 10 seconds long instead. So basically, if you either requested a movie during the past 24 hours, or request one sometime during the next several days, it will likely be half as long, and include half as many images as usual. Once movie demand returns to a more sustainable level and we have caught up with the current queue of movies these limits will be returned to their normal values so users can continue to make the high-quality movies they are used to.

Thanks everyone for your patience.

Update June 09, 2011: We have decreased the image limit (from 150 to 100) and movie duration (from 10s to 6.6s) once more to account for the continued high-demand. Once things slow down a bit we’ll increase the limit first to 150, then back to 300.

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Lots of traffic equals long movie waits

As you may have already noticed if you tried to make a movie this afternoon, the estimated wait time for new movies requests is currently very long due to the exciting eruption we saw this morning. Usually when you request a movie it will be created within a couple minutes. Right now, however, the queue time is in the hours range.

All movie requests will be handled in the order they are received, so you are welcome to queue up a video and check back later in the day to see if the video is available. Another option though would be to check out some of the excellent videos made by other Helioviewer.org users. You can use the arrow buttons or mouse-wheel to scroll down the list of shared videos on bottom-right of the page and see what other people have made.

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Helioviewer.org 2.2.0 Released

Helioviewer.org has been updated to include several new features and a number of bug fixes. Although the update is focused primarily on improving the reliability and performance, several new features have been added, and over the next 2-3 weeks you should begin to see new types of images from the STEREO mission.

Try it out! If you have any comments or suggestions, or run into any problems, report a bug or feature request.

RELEASE NOTES:

Helioviewer.org 2.2.0 is a major release including a number of stability and performance improvements, as well as a large amount of bug fixes. The main focus of this release is the recently added movie and screenshot creation capabilities. A large amount of work has been done to improve the reliability of those features, and also to pave the way for new functionality which will be added in upcoming releases and will be directed at giving users more fine-tuned control over the movie creation process.

New features:

* STEREO EUVI/COR image support (images will begin to appear online in the next 2-3 weeks!)
* WebM support
* IE9 HTML5 video support added
* YouTube video sharing support added
* New flash video player (Flowplayer)
* Improved screenshot quality
* Better mobile support (drag and drop, working sliders, etc)
* Added a data monitor page (http://www.helioviewer.org/status)

Bug fixes:

* Fixed bug #693901 Enable lookup of video properties using only its id
* Fixed bug #332020 Double-click zoom functioning incorrectly
* Fixed bug #602756 Optimize movie generation when near end of available data
* Fixed bug #662607 HTML5 Video format choice should be based on browser and not OS
* Fixed bug #662897 Avoid using compressed images during movie frame generation
* Fixed bug #692574 Generate WebM videos for each movie request
* Fixed bug #701509 Use RSUN instead of CDELT when scaling EIT images
* Fixed bug #730701 Speed up time with which shared videos appear on Helioviewer.org
* Fixed bug #735617 Store meta-information for tiles and screenshots generated by Helioviewer.org
* Fixed bug #781148 Use current time as default observation time
* Fixed bug #193782 Cursor bug in IE
* Fixed bug #609225 When attempting to use the Flash video browser, perform check for Flash support
* Fixed bug #612506 Movie pop-up menu returns NaN for older movies
* Fixed bug #621798 Use jQuery instead of Shadowbox when displaying Helioviewer.org Link
* Fixed bug #783483 IE: background image disappears in fullscreen mode
* Fixed bug #785792 When changing one field in a layer (e.g. observatory) attempt to preserve all other properties
* Fixed bug #691081 Add a “Share on Youtube” button
* Fixed bug #696346 Add metadata to generated movies
* Fixed bug #624817 Media History clear button stops working
* Fixed bug #666756 First getDataSources query after new data is added becomes very slow
* Fixed bug #605020 Helioviewer.org Movies should not include redundant frames
* Fixed bug #614001 Movie history does not disappear when creating movie
* Fixed bug #712095 Helioviewer-specific header tags not displayed in information dialog for newer images
* Fixed bug #725539 When building movies, ignore failures limited to a single frame
* Fixed bug #387365 Slider bars do not work on Safari on iPod touch
* Fixed bug #666809 Timestamp text overlaps icons on some Linux systems
* Fixed bug #669895 For movie generation failures specify whether failure occured during image creation or movie encoding
* Fixed bug #697191 High-quality video download button is cut-off on some browsers/display screens
* Fixed bug #700024 Metalinks not easily readable on large screens
* Fixed bug #704980 Suggestion for a better movie player dialog box title
* Fixed bug #376995 Make JP2 creation information available via helioviewer.org

Library updates:

* jQuery (1.4.2 => 1.6)
* jQuery imgAreaSelect (0.9.2 => 0.9.5)
* jQuery jGrowl (1.2.4 => 1.2.5)
* jQuery qTip (1.0 r54 => 2.0.0pre)
* jQuery UI (1.8 => 1.8.12)

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A Quick Introduction to Helioviewer.org

We have put together a short slideshow introducing the major features of Helioviewer.org and uploaded it to SlideShare. If you want a quick overview of what all the different buttons and options are on Helioviewer.org, check it out. Afterwards if you want to get a more in-depth understanding of all of the features offered by Helioviewer, try reading the Helioviewer User Guide.

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Helioviewer.org adds support for uploading videos to YouTube

Users now have the ability to upload any Helioviewer.org produced videos directly from Helioviewer.org to YouTube. Users can also share these uploaded videos directly with other users of Helioviewer.org. If you take a look at the Helioviewer.org website you will notice a new video section on the bottom-right corner of the page. All of the videos that are linked to there were created by users on Helioviewer.org and uploaded to YouTube.

Figure 1: Recently uploaded videos appear on the right

For a while now users have had to option to download any of the videos they create, but because some videos can be quite large (e.g. 50Mb) this isn’t always convenient when you want to share the video with someone else. This is where YouTube steps in. After your video has been created, you can download it to your local computer and also upload it to YouTube from Helioviewer.org. This makes it easy for users to quickly share their creations in a way that people are already familiar with. Furthermore, by checking the “Share my video with other Helioviewer.org users” box in the upload form, your video will show up in the “Recent Uploads” section at the bottom-right corner of the screen. It may take a little while before your video shows up (this is due to the way YouTube indexes uploaded videos and may take up to a couple hours on a busy day) on the website so if it doesn’t seem to be showing up, don’t despair! Check back later and it should be there.

Figure 2: Video player dialog showing the new YouTube upload button

To upload your own video to YouTube, begin by creating a video using the “video” button at the top-right corner of the screen. Once your video has finished processing and Helioviewer.org has notified you that your video is ready to be viewed, click the link provided to show your video in the in-browser player. At the bottom of the player you’ll see two buttons: a download button (which downloads a high-quality version of the video you are viewing) and an upload button with a YouTube icon next to it. Click the upload button. If this is the first time you are uploading a video (or if you have either closed your browser or waited more than 24 hours since your last upload) you will need to authorize Helioviewer.org to upload videos on your behalf. To do this, you will need to sign in to your Google/YouTube account, and then click the “Authorize” button. Afterwards you will be redirected to a simple form where you can choose a title, tags, and description for the video, and also specify whether or not you want your video to appear on Helioviewer.org. When you are finished filling out the form, hit submit and you are done! The video should show up on your YouTube account within a couple minutes, and if you chose to share your video on Helioviewer.org, it should show up there a little later.

This is a really new feature and you will probably see it change some over time as we continue to refine the interface and make it easier to work with. If you have any suggestions though, please let us know! We want to make a tool that is both easy and fun to use.

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AIA images are coming back

You may have noticed that we didn’t have any new AIA images, from about 2010/12/19. This was due to an interruption in the creation of the science-quality files we use to create the images available via the Helioviewer Project. The situation has been rectified, and we are currently filling in missing data between now and when the interruption began (approximately 2010/12/19 04:00 UT). We are filling in the missing data at the approximate rate of 1.5 – 2 days worth of AIA images per 24 hours.

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Helioviewer.org update: Improved movie quality

Helioviewer.org has been updated this morning to include some recent improvement to the movie generation process. The result of this update is that the quality of the movies that you see on Helioviewer.org has been greatly improved.

While Helioviewer.org has offered High-definition H.264 movies for several months now (encoded using the excellent x264 library), the amount of compression used was fairly high. The result of this was very small file sizes (around 1-5MB), but some noticeable compression artifacts; the effect of which was especially noticeable for larger movies.

For example, the below movie was generated on Helioviewer.org several days ago:

Example 1: In-browser movie before update (download video)

A number of changes were made to the H.264 encoding parameters in order to improve the quality, for example, whereas movies were previously generated using a constant variable bit-rate (-b 2048K), the newer movies use a different rate-control method called “Constant Ratefactor (CRF)” in order to achieve a desired level of quality.

Here is an example of a movie created for viewing in the browser using the new code:

Example 2: In-browser movie after update (download video)

What’s more, the “high-quality” download option is now much higher quality than ever before. Previously, when users clicked on the link below in the in-browser movie that says “Click here to download a high-quality version“, what they got was actually the same movie that was already playing in their browser, but packed in a container format compatible with the user’s operating system. With the update this morning, however, the high-quality download link now points to a separate and visibly higher-quality movie from what is shown in the browser. The high-quality option available now is actually a lossless movie, with respect to the underlying JPEG 2000 data archive used by Helioviewer.org.

Example 3: High quality movie after update (download video)

(Note: If you are having trouble viewing the above video, you can download an MP4 version directly from here.)

Of course, nothing comes for free, and that is true in the case of these improvements as well. The improvements made to quality come at the cost of increased movie filesize. For the standard-quality movie that is shown directly in the browser, the filesize has increased from by a factor of around 1.5-10x with the largest files around 50MB each. The real behemoths, however, are the high-quality (lossless) movies which range from around 50-300MB. It’s a lot, but try watching a few of high-quality AIA movies and you won’t ever want to go back again. 🙂

Update 2010/12/31: Thanks to Dark_Shikari on #x264 for some help making sense of some of the many rate control options available when encoding using x264.

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Helioviewer.org 2.1.0 Released

Helioviewer.org has been updated to include a number of new features and bug fixes. Although many of the features included in this release have already been available online for some time now, their performance and reliability has been greatly improved during the past several weeks.

Try it out! If you have any comments or suggestions, or run into any problems, report a bug or feature request.

Stayed tuned for some exciting new features next week 🙂

RELEASE NOTES:

Helioviewer.org 2.1.0 is a major release which includes many new features and a large number of bug fixes. Major features added include: full support for AIA images, on the fly movie and screenshot creation and a custom resource management and queuing system. Other changes include:

New features:

* Overhauled error back-end error handling
* Support for HEK FRM/Event querying
* PHP IMagick used in place of convert when available for better performance (See: http://valokuva.org/?p=40 for more information)
* Custom FFmpeg wrapper used in place of PHPVideoToolkit
* FirePHP support
* Documentation for each back-end module now handled at the module level rather than globally
* IE8 local storage support
* Conversion from tile coordinates to spatial coordinates now handled on front-end
* Removed dependencies on image archive directory structure
* Added a JHelioviewer JNLP generation method so that users can easily jump from Helioviewer.org to JHelioviewer
* Color of image layer timestamps now ranges on a scale from green (near requested time) to red (far from requested time). Absolute difference is used so that it does not matter whether actual image is ahead or behind requested one

Bug fixes:

* Fixed bug #544338 Edge effects for tiles viewed at higher magnification
* Fixed bug #605412 Helioviewer-generated Flash movies degrade in quality as the movie progresses
* Fixed bug #614558 Use of IMagick#extentImage results in images with incorrect dimensions
* Fixed bug #619944 Movie history panel occasionally stays in viewport
* Fixed bug #312205 Sandbox dimensions are too large for C2 and C3 Images
* Fixed bug #383939 Disable tiling when layer is hidden
* Fixed bug #508723 Check to see if data exists for each source, or provide option to disable a data source
* Fixed bug #605398 Improve JPX request cadence optimization for non-evenly distributed data
* Fixed bug #605411 Fullscreen, etc. button tooltips are hidden by movie/screenshot creation dialogs
* Fixed bug #608265 Chrome appends .html on movies
* Fixed bug #610456 FITS header dialog not updated when image is changed
* Fixed bug #645836 shortcuts for time steps “<” or “>” not working
* Fixed bug #535645 Add link to uncompressed JavaScript and CSS for better “view source” function
* Fixed bug #544352 backfill JP2s from SOHO mission up to most recent
* Fixed bug #322857 Sandbox dimensions do not update right away when layers are removed
* Fixed bug #415455 helioviewer logo issues/request

Library updates:

* jQuery imgAreaSelect (0.8 => 0.9.2)
* jQuery jGrowl (1.2.0 => 1.2.4)
* jQuery qTip (1.0 r34 => 1.0 r54)

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