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The SHRG provides a critical link between experimental measurements and the advancement of scientific knowledge not only by inventing the instruments that collect and measure the plasma in space, but also processing and analyzing the data from those instruments, providing the scientific community with high-quality data that can be used for research in many different fields.


The use of in-situ measurements and remote-sensing observations to measure the physical properties of solar plasmas requires a vast amount of atomic data. These data allow to determine the evolution of the ionization status of wind plasmas and to measure the physical properties of coronal plasmas. Members of the SHRG have developed CHIANTI (, a spectral code that allows users to carry out spectroscopic diagnostics of optically thin plasmas. CHIANTI is the most advanced spectral code working below 2000 Angstroem, is the standard spectral code used in solar physics, and is used worldwide by scientists working in all fields of astrophysics.


The SHRG applies auditory data analysis techniques to detect spectral features in the solar wind that may otherwise be overlooked. This practice of turning data into sound – known as data sonification – allows scientists to analyze the data using their sense of hearing as well as vision. The auditory display can play a valuable role in the data analysis process, particularly when used in tandem with visualization methods in rendering data sets of high dimensionality. Our group has successfully applied sonification techniques to reveal new information regarding the source regions of the solar wind, and will continue to use this approach in the future to explore data sets of increasingly high resolution.

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Listening to solar storms

Experiment Data Management

By inventing and building new instruments, the SHRG collects experimental data that is critical to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Our results contribute to continued research, publication, and the formation/validation of theoretical frameworks. Data analysis is a multi-tiered, computationally intensive process. Managing the telemetry output of multiple instruments and organizing this data into efficient storage structures requires a unique combination of custom software and commercial analysis tools. Each instrument collects data that must traverse a path from in-situ collection to public release. This data production pipeline requires expertise spanning several fields of science and engineering including computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, and electrical engineering. Our group specializes in ground data system solutions including decompression and decoding of telemetry data, efficient storage and retrieval of scientific data for analysis, and data visualization. In addition, we build custom analysis tools based on commercial software packages such as IDL and MATLAB.

The data analysis is intimately tied to instrument development. The methods required to interpret instrument output are determined by using a combination of instrument response profiling, fundamental physics, and statistical analysis. Our data production algorithms are precisely calibrated to eliminate instrumentation bias which allows us to provide the most accurate measurements possible. Additionally, we are continually developing new and better instrument designs that evolve with our understanding of both the practical operational concerns of an instrument and the physical environment within which the instrument operates (the heliosphere).