LASCO Resources Page

LASCO and SolarSoftware Installation Guide

  • LASCO data are stored in FITS files.
  • The LASCO analysis sofware is written in the Interactive Data Language (IDL).
  • The LASCO software makes extensive use of the SolarSoftware (SSW) package. Mostly written in IDL, SSW provides a set of sofware libraries, databases, and system utilities which provide a common programming and data analysis environment for Solar Physics.
The LASCO calibration software requires IDL and SSW. Implementation for another platform is not schedulded. Manipulating LASCO data is extremely difficult without IDL and SSW, because in addition to a large number of data routines, a lot of information is stored on-line as well, such as backgrounds and calibration information.

Installation of the LASCO SolarSoft tree at your site

From now on, we will assume that you have IDL running on your machine. If needed, you should follow the SSW installation guide to install a new or upgrade an existing SSW installation. Make sure that you include the LASCO software set in your packages selection.

The LASCO software installation page has been designed so that it is easy and quick to use: you should have a functional software tree if you complete each of the steps.

Installing the LASCO SSW database at your site

From now on, the manipulation sofware will rely upon a database of background subtraction images stored as FITS files. You must have this database installed locally and up to date if you want the LASCO manipulation sofware to work properly. The database is typically updated after each background coronal subtraction model is calculated (roughly every two weeks). When following the installation instructions, make sure that you include the LASCO monthly models (in the soho/lasco/monthly directory).

Keeping your installation up to date

Regular upgrades or additions are made to the SSW tree. The LASCO calibration software and database are updated regularly (roughly every two weeks). Some routines also need regular updates. If you are not sure your SSW installation is up to date, please follow the upgrade instructions.

If your installation is fairy recent, you may not need to go through the full upgrade process. It may be enough to only download the few routines that get updated frequently (about every month) and the most recent monthly subtraction models. Please go to this page to check if you have the latest versions and see how to install them.


If you are experiencing difficulty running the software tree, you should check to ensure your environment variables are set properly, and that the IDL startup procedure is properly including the SSW tree. Check the system environment and IDL setup section of the SSW guide.

If after carefully follwing the installation steps you still have problems running the LASCO software, please e-mail the LASCO Operations Scientist at GSFC