Data Center for Space Science

The Center has established a Data Center for Space Science (DCSS), which acquires, archives, manages and processes selected scientific data sets from space missions.  The DCSS handles, in particular, observations from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) and the Kepler space missions. Access to SDO and Kepler data is essential to performing research in solar and stellar physics.  These data are made publicly available by NASA as a matter of its policy, but local infrastructure in the UAE are required to acquire and analyse the data locally.  The shared database management system netDRMS is installed to mirror SDO data series from other international data centers, e.g., from Stanford University and from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany.  The DCSS is making these observations available to all institutions in the UAE.  Additionally, the CSS intends to host workshops to train interested users in downloading and analyzing these data, and to offer internships and other opportunities to Emiratis to develop skills in data acquisition, handling and analysis. Such skills should build relevant capacity for facilitating research studies associated wit the Emirates Mars Mission.  The DCSS will also support preparations for future space missions, e.g. Solar Orbiter, TESS, and PLATO (launch 2026).  The data volume requirement is set by the SDO helioseismic observations at approximately 50 TB per year.  DCSS's openness towards the UAE community (academic institutions and research centers) is an essential aspect of this project.

The SDO data are made available by the Joint Science Operations Center (JSOC) at Stanford University, through the German Data Center for SDO (GDC). Once transferred in the UAE, the DCSS makes available all the relevant HMI data for helioseismology and small selected AIA data sets for context information.  For helioseismology, the amount of SDO data consists of approximately 50 TB/year of SDO/HMI 4k x 4k Dopplegrams, line of sight magnetograms, and intensity data at full cadence (45 s). For some particular applications, vector magnetograms are also made available.  The HMI/SDO data are uniquely suited for helioseismic studies for several reasons.  They are substantially better characterized than MDI/SOHO, so systematic errors are much less of a concern.  The higher resolution means that it is possible to go much closer to the solar limb than it is for MDI/SOHO and GONG.  This in turn makes it more suitable for studying the high-latitude areas, for following active regions for more of their disk passage, and also results in a better ability to separate spherical harmonics.

The Kepler data are available in raw pixel level format, as well as the more commonly used, raw simple-aperture and post-processed simple-aperture time series formats.  The data were made public and consist of running releases of the calibrated data.The total data volume amounts to approximately 100 TB. For a single data release, the time series requires approximately 1 TB of storage capacity.  The Kepler data have a much smaller volume than the SDO data, and thus storage requirements of the DCSS are essentially fixed by the SDO data.

NASA policy stipulates that the SDO and Kepler data are publicly accessible, without restriction.  The data sets are transferred to the NYUAD DCSS from the USA (metadata) and from Europe (data) via automatic streaming using the netDRMS softward.  Expert scientists and students from the UAE (including MBRSC) and from other international locations have full access to the data in the DCSS. All SDO and Kepler observations and other important data (e.g., helioseismic data products, stellar model grids) are stored in the archive and backed up by default. 

Currently, the DCSS contains the following data series:

HMI vector magnet field data                                                                                                                      HMI 45 sec Doppler images [1 Carrington Rotation]
HMI 12min full disk Line of sight magnetograms [1 Carrington Rotation]
HMI 45 sec Intensity images [1 Carrington Rotation]
HMI ring fits and flow maps [10 years]
HMI and MDI spherical harmonic time series [14 + 10 years]
HMI and MDI global mode fit paramters [14 + 10 years]
HMI LCT flow maps [6 years]
AIA 304Angstrom full disk data [8 years at 12h cadence]
GONG ring fits and flow maps [19 years]
~1000 light curves and spectra for Kepler stars, including all Legacy stars and several KOIs
a few TESS solar-like stars, that are currently analysed
STEREO full disk images [8 years at 12h cadence]
some NASA MSL (Curiosity) and MAVEN data