Archive for category Movies

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 to YouTube.

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

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SWAP movie of the transit of Venus

The movie below shows the PROBA2-SWAP view of the transit so far:

Venus appears to swing north and south in this movie – this was predicted by the operators of SWAP at the Royal Observatory of Belgium Solar Data Influences Center. It is caused by the orbit of the PROBA2 spacecraft around the Earth creating very different points of view of at different times in the orbit.

More movies to come!

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User highlights: Transit of Venus in AIA

Here are some of the many excellent videos made by users of the Transit of Venus seen by AIA…

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JHelioviewer 2.2.1 Released

A new version of JHelioviewer is available for download. What’s new? This update release contains improved movie export functionality, an updated LASCO C2 coronagraph mask, the new SDO Cutout Service plug-in plus various bug fixes.

The new movie export menu makes it easier to set the exact scaling of the area you are interested in, and the processing itself is now performed on the graphics card using OpenGL:

New movie export menu

The SDO Cutout Service plug-in allows you to request science-quality image data from the SDO/AIA and HMI instruments for the region of interest and time range selected in JHelioviewer:

SDO Cutout Service plug-in

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Eruption seen coming from the back of the Sun

YouTube and Helioviewer user goggog67 spotted this event that clearly happened on the other side of the Sun.

The material travels in to the field of view from its launch location, which can be seen in STEREO-B EUVI images. If you go to STEREO latest image selector and select ‘Behind EUVI 195’, pick a resolution of 512 x 512, type in a start and end date of 20120202, and select ‘Slideshow’, you get an animation of the event as seen from STEREO-B. There is a filament eruption on the upper left of the disk (it is hard to spot) which is the same material seen in the AIA 304 movie above:

and a flare in more or less the same area of the Sun – look for the very bright patch at the limb of the Sun at the upper left of the disk.

Thanks to goggog67 for spotting this event and sharing it with us!

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User highlight: flares and loops

YouTube and users losyziemi, MeireRuiz7 and goggog67 have created a wonderful series of movies that show a flaring system of loops coming from a source active region just coming round the limb of the Sun. Thanks for sharing these great movies!

Solar flares are caused by the interaction of particles accelerated by magnetic reconnection with the surrounding plasma. In the movies below, you can see bright loop-top sources filling in their supporting loops. This caused by the flare-accelerated particles striking the surrounding plasma, and heating it up; as that plasma cools down, it appears in the AIA wavebands. This event should be visible in all the other AIA wavebands (which correspond approximately to different temperatures in the solar plasma).

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Big Filament!

STEREO-B saw this big filament from its point of view looking over at back-side of the Sun.

The filament is the large dark straggly line of material in the upper left of the movie. Click here to see the movie in

Filaments are cool strands of material about 100 times cooler than the surrounding plasma, and are supported by magnetic fields. They can lie suspended but cool in the hot solar atmosphere for weeks, and then erupt in a matter of minutes, causing coronal mass ejections. It should be rotating into the SDO field of view in the next couple of days. If you are on Facebook, The Sun Today has a great post about this filament. Let’s see what happens!

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User highlight: filament eruption in AIA 193.

YouTube and user muriealdurian just uploaded this video of a filament eruption as seen in AIA 193:

The filament(1) is the narrow dark moving thread in the middle of the field of view. As the movie progresses the filament evolves and eventually erupts out in to space, causing a coronal mass ejection. The material underneath the filament darkens, indicating an evacuation of plasma, that is, the plasma is draining away from that part of the solar atmosphere. These kinds of events happen a lot, and will happen more as solar activity ramps up. Thank you, muriealdurian, for uploading a good example of a filament eruption.

(1) Prominences are filaments seen over the limb of the Sun – prominences and filaments are the same thing, but have different names for historical reasons. Prominences and filaments were first observed in different wavelengths, and so acquired different names. Later, we realized that they were the same thing, but the two names have stuck around in the literature.

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User highlight: spiraling AIA 304

Helioviewer user otraLoly was first to share this rather spectacular looking event in SDO AIA data yesterday:

As the event progresses, you can clearly see that the material is spiraling around as it slowly moves away from the Sun’s surface. It may be associated with an ejection seen in LASCO C2, although the data here is as yet incomplete. Other users have also shred movies of the same event: here is one shared by danielchangck:

and another movie shared by papavalium:

If you find something interesting, please let us know by either emailing us at, or by sharing it on via YouTube.


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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: 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!

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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:

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 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

When you request a movie on 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 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 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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