Returning archive users may have noticed some changes in our user
interface lately. What follows is a description of the most
EIS line fits
We have been working for a long time to implement line fitting for narrow-slit
EIS observations with more than a handful of exposures, in order to produce
intensity (I), velocity (V), and line width (W) maps for all prominent
emission lines. In a fully automated process, Gaussian profiles are fitted to
up to 10 emission lines per data window.
Line identification and labelling
The tooltip labelling of the images should be relatively clear, e.g. "Fe XI
180.4 Å" where there is little doubt about the identification, e.g. "184.22 Å
(Fe VII/Ni XVI)" when there is a potential problem with the identification,
and e.g. "Fit at 264.45 Å" where no likely identification is available. In the
latter two cases, the wavelength reported is the median wavelength from the
line fit - not an emission line's nominal wavelength, as is the case when the
identification is relatively firm (e.g. "Fe XI 180.4 Å"). Also, please keep
in mind that the labelling (and the wavelength calibration) is fully automatic
and without regard to what solar features are observed, so use with caution
Although the line fitting is able to handle moderate blends quite well, it
will not handle close blends - so be careful, use the images only as a
guide, not for publishing!
Line and product selection
While testing out the results of line fitting we discovered that
browsers (and the computers they're running on) easily get in some
trouble when showing all available images. No wonder, since 3
"products" (I + V + W) times 10 or more emission lines, times 50
result page lines means 1500 images on each page! So, we've made a
drop-down menu to choose between combinations of I, V, and W.
In addition, you can select the emission lines of interest - this
will show only those line fits that may be among the selected
lines (median line position no further than 0.05Å from the nominal
wavelength). As an alternative, it is possible to limit the
number of emission lines with another drop-down menu, by
selecting no specific lines. In that case, lines are included in order
of decreasing (median) intensity until the limit is reached.
Another way to be nice to your browser is to reduce the number of
result lines shown per page.
New and improved grouping system
The archive's grouping system is intended to bind together multiple
observations/files into meaningful chunks. Each chunk is presented as a single
line in the search result pages. From the very beginning, however, the
grouping system has been somewhat deficient in accomplishing just that - in
particular for XRT files. This is partially due to the unforeseen lack of any
"planning information" in SOT and XRT FITS files, and partially due to the
great differences in the operational "style" of the instruments. Late
September 2008, however, we introduced new grouping categories "Fine"
(default), "Very fine", "Medium", and "Coarse" that work much better than the
original categories. The old grouping categories are still available, but they
may be taken away at some point in the future, unless they prove to be useful
for some of you.
The leftmost column on grouped result pages now
includes a "timeline" image as a background. The shaded columns on a timeline
image indicates the starting times for all the observations covered by the
result line. Time goes from left to right, spanning the period from the first
to the last observation on the current result page. This makes it easy to see
which result lines are overlapping in time or not, and at the same time it
gives an idea of the cadence and "compactness" of the group.
Zoom, Retrieve, File paths, ASCII
You can now easily select e.g. a set of concurrent groups in the leftmost
result column, and "zoom in" on them by pressing the zoom button at the top or
bottom of the result listing.
The two retrieve buttons (retrieve selected/retrieve all) have been
replaced with just one: If no files are selected, all files (on all pages) in
the current search are included.
The "File paths" button is at the request of some of our users. As with the
retrieve button, only selected files/groups are included if a selection has
been made, otherwise the entire search is included. The files are sorted
according to the current sort settings for the result page.
The "ASCII" button behaves similarly, but shows the data for the currently
selected columns for each file in a tab-separated ASCII format. This is in
fact the output used by our IDL archive client, the OSDC object. The first
line shows the number of returned lines and the number of files matching the
search criteria*. The second line is a tab-separated header with
column NAME:type information. Then follows the actual tab-separated data
for each file.
Thumbnails: on (and other sticky settings)
Since a majority of requested search result pages include thumbnails, we have
changed the default setting to "on" rather than "off". At the same time, we
have made the thumbnail setting "sticky", storing your last effective setting
in a browser cookie, which is then used as your new default.
The "sticky" nature of the thumbnail setting has also been applied to
several other properties: field selection, grouping, auto-inclusion of search
fields on result pages, sorting direction, and the number of lines per result
page. Since the "Reset" button now activates your defaults, we've
added a "Full reset" button to activate the global defaults.
Faster & better tooltips
of your operating system/browser settings, and they appear a lot faster than
before. Many thanks to Walter
for his wz_tooltip package!
The archive is designed to include all details of the current search in the
URL. This means you can refer to a search using the URL**
. The URLs
can get very long, however, causing some practical problems. The TinyURL
button will create a much
shorter URL that can easily be included in
emails without breaking, etc.
Although we think the archive works quite well the way it is, we are by no
means "done" with the development. To give you an idea of the future direction
for the archive, here are some of the things we will work on in the future:
You may not be aware of it, but the basic functionality of the archive is
differently, but it works. Developing pages with this in mind, however, is
very cumbersome. So we will keep the current interface available, but new
developments may require
- Interactive searches for the keyword you want, instead of those
seemingly endless lists of keyword names.
- Hiding most of the "stuff" that's seldom used, while allowing it all to
appear on top of the rest of the page contents when needed. This will also
make it easier to come up with "new stuff", like better EIS line selection,
without crowding the search page unnecessarily.
- Delaying the "calculation" of group summaries for each field until you
request it - making the result pages load much faster.
- Interactive hierarchical grouping (much like a directory "tree") with
varying levels of detail.
SOT/SP Level 1D images
We hope to be able to provide SOT/SP "Level 1D" images soon, as well
as limiting SOT/SP searches to find only those files that correspond
to a level 1D product. This has been requested by several users, and
we wholeheartedly agree that this would make the archive much more
useful for SOT/SP. But it's not entirely trivial to implement in a
seamless way, so it may take some time.
SOT & XRT "planning information"
Unfortunately, the SOT & XRT fits files contain no "planning information",
i.e. the "who and why" of the data. So far, that has made it impossible for us
to make this information available for searching and browsing. We hope to
correct this by "patching" our database with information from the SOT &
XRT archive at LMSAL
Group properties (e.g. cadence)
The new grouping system will make it more meaningful to implement new,
searchable values such as group (min/max) cadence, group duration, etc. This
has been requested by several users.
Eventually, we want to get to the point where
you can ask the archive to find instances where instrument X observes with
program A and instrument Y observes with program B, at the same time, on the
same solar feature.
Problems, questions, suggestions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org