Access to Heliophysics data has become increasingly easy and uniform. The adoption of descriptive and format standards not just at NASA but more internationally is helping greatly. The following provides a guide to a number of HP data resources. It is more complete for NASA data access routes than for others, but some major US/nonNASA and international sources are included. The Heliophysics Data Portal provides, among other things, links to data provider web sites from missions around the world.
General NASA HP Data Access Portals
The Virtual Solar Observatory
(VSO) has focused on delivering solar data files from many
observatories at different locations using a unified interface. They
deliver FITS files from SOHO, Yohkoh, TRACE, Hinode, STEREO, other
spacecraft, and a large number of ground-based observatories. VSO has a
simple browser interface and an API for direct access. This VO is the
original "small box" building block of a VxO system. The
VSO includes preview movies, a "shopping cart," and
links to descriptive information for repositories. It is now possible to gain direct access to data from the SolarSoft library using VSO as an (invisible) web service.
The Heliophysics Data Portal, hosted by NASA's Space Physics
Data Facility (SPDF), provides searches for and access to Space and
Solar Physics data, models, plots, indices, images, and movies from
over 100 observatories/spacecraft using both direct access with web services and with the interfaces provided by the repositories. The registry
uses the SPASE data model. Over 1000 data products are registered, including most past and present NASA missions, many international spacecraft, and a significant number of ground-based resources. Large numbers of quick overview plots, images, and movies are available, in addition to quick access to orbits, papers, and other resources.
Heliophysics Data Centers
NASA's Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF) provides plot, download, and direct application access to a large collection of space physics datasets, including that from many of NASA's recent and past missions. Data from many sources may be plotted together, and output data products for desired time ranges and variables may be produced in CDF or ASCII. SPDF services include the popular OMNI datasets and associated tools plus orbit plotting tools (SSC) and an associated 3-D viewer (TIPSOD). Data may be accessed directly from applications using web services.
NASA's Solar Data Analysis
Center (SDAC) provides access to a variety of current and past solar data products, and it is home to the VSO (see above). Links are provided to very useful overviews of present and past solar images and related data, and the Solar Monitor and the Latest Event services are rich sources of "space weather" information, both past and present.
NOAA's National Geophysical Data
Center (NGDC) is a source for ground-based activity indices, GOES X-ray, magnetic field, and particle data, cosmic ray datasets, DMSP images and particle data, and other Heliophysics related data. Time series plots, data inventories, and data downloads are available, and a Web service provides easy direct access from applications such as IDL.
JAXA's Data Archives and Transmission System (DARTS) is a rich source of Japanese solar and space physics data (among other things). The site provides Geotail, Hinode, Yohkoh, Akebono, and other datasets and a "Conjunction
Event Finder" (CEF) that allows convenient data browsing, determination of satellite footpoints, and other useful services.
The French Centre de Données de Physique des Plasmas (CDPP) has large amounts of HP data from earlier (ARCAD, Interball, etc.) and current (Cluser, STEREO, Ulysses, etc.) missions. Search by keywords or quicklooks, and download selected data.
Subfield Information and Data Access: VxOs and other Services
The NASA "Virtual Observatories" provide a variety of information and tools related to data from subdiscipline "x." What follows is a very brief guide to these services.
Heliospheric Observatory (VHO) unites a number
of distributed repositories for heliospheric data. The VHO has included
in its tasks assuring the data are well calibrated and complete for
improved solar wind studies.
Belt Observatory (ViRBO) has helped the RB community to improve a number of datasets that are now made available in much more convient forms than previously. ViRBO is also the sponsor of the increasingly widely used Autoplot software that allows the plotting of data from in a wide variety of formats from both local and internet sources.
SuperMAG provides VO-like access to nearly all the ground-based magnetometer network, as well as to related auroral images.
The Virtual Model Repository is a VxO that is making progress on the difficult task of integrating computational model results with observed data by facilitating visualization, data/model comparisons, and independent interpretation of model results.
The Virtual Energetic Particle Observatory (VEPO) has augmented the VHO resources
with data on energetic particles from both inside and outside the
heliosphere, as well as provided a new tool for plotting energetic particle data from multliple spacecraft to perform intercomparisons (MSSP)
Most recently, a Virtual Wave Observatory (VWO) was
selected to unite datasets associated with radio and plasma wave
phenomena in the magnetosphere and heliosphere. As with
VEPO, VWO will use much of the VHO "middleware" to simplify their