Solar Orbiter (SolO) Readme


Solar Orbiter (SolO) Data

This directory gathers the in situ data from the Solar Orbiter mission. Solar Orbiter was launched on 2020 February 9, as a joint mission between ESA and NASA. It is dedicated to solar and heliospheric physics. It has a highly elliptic orbit, between 0.29 AU at perihelion and 1.2 AU at aphelion, with increasing inclination to the solar equator over time (24 degrees at the end of the 7-year nominal mission). The mission will provide close-up, high-latitude observations of the Sun.

Solar Orbiter carries four in situ and six remote sensing instrument suites. The data are stored and distributed at the Solar Orbiter Archive (SOAR) and mirrored at NASA. The relevant information for the understanding of the Solar Orbiter data is at the mission's wiki page.

The four in situ instrument suites are Solar Wind Analyser (SWA), Magnetometer (MAG), Energetic Particle Detector (EPD), Radio and Plasma Waves (RPW). The references of the mission and the instruments are in a special issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

See CDAWeb for plots and listings, with other access methods.


Subdirectories (in alphabetical order):

/epd/   Energetic Particle Detector, measurements of electrons, protons, and heavy ions from suprathermal energies up to several hundreds of Mev/nucleon over different angular directions. PI: Javier Rodriguez-Pacheco, University of Alcala, Spain. See the EPD homepage and EPD data overview.

/helio1day/   Spacecraft position data.

/mag/   Magnetometer, measurements of the in situ magnetic field. PI: Timothy Horbury, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. See the MAG homepage.

/rpw/   Radio and Plasma Waves, measurements of the magnetic and electric fields to determine the characteristics of the electromagnetic and electrostatic waves in the solar wind up to frequencies of a few hundreds of kHz as well as solar radio emissions up to 16 MHz. PI: Milan Maksimovic, LESIA, Observatoire de Pairs, Meudon, France. See the RPW homepage.

/swa/   Solar Wind Analyser, measurements of the ion and electron bulk properties of the solar wind, and solar wind ion composition. PI: Christopher Owen, Mullard Space Science Laboratory, United Kingdom. See the SWA homepage.


In each of the instrument directory, there are low latency and science data. The data directory structures are somewhat different from the NASA mirroring site. While there are multiple levels of science data, only Level 2 and above are served at CDAWeb.

Low latency data are a limited subset of each instrument's data, downlinked in full during every communications pass. They are primarily an operational product, designed to provide situational awareness to the Solar Orbiter team, while the spacecraft is far from Earth, and it takes several weeks to months for science data to be returned to Earth. Within the team, low latency data will be used to perform high-level instrument health checks, to help choose the best targets for the high-resolution imagers, and, for some instruments, to help us select the most interesting events to downlink at the best resolution.

For purposes other than those listed above, these low latency data should be used with caution. They are not of a sufficient quality to undertake science analysis, and results derived from them should not be submitted for publication. The caveats of the low latency data are listed at the access page. The letters after the version number in the low latency file names have the following meanings: C for Complete, I for Incomplete, and U for Unknown level of completion. See more details in the Solar Orbiter interface control document for the low latency data.

When there are multiple versions of data for the same time interval, only the lastest version is shown in the public SPDF archive and CDAWeb server. The file names of CDF data are changed to all lower case upon ingestion to SPDF, so they are the same datasets as the ones at SOAR if the only difference is the upper versus lower case letters.

A full list of Solar Orbiter datasets will be available from the Heliophysics Data Portal.

When using the Solar Orbiter data from the SPDF archive, please acknowledge the Solar Orbiter mission team, instrument team, and NASA Space Physics Data Facility for making the data available.

Data contacts:
European Space Astronomy Center (ESAC): Andrew Walsh
NASA/GSFC SPDF: Lan Jian