LASCO data use and retrieval policies

Table of Contents:

Retrieval Policies

The LASCO team will provide data to the public and to the scientific community as soon as possible after data collection. While the data are completely open and unrestricted, we do ask that the LASCO team be acknowledged to recognize the investment in time that the team has made in developing the instrument, in operating it and in developing the calibration tools and other procedures to handle these outstanding data.

However, note that as of October 1, 2009, the team is no longer funded to reduce and calibrate the data and then to make them available to the community.

Simply put this means:

  • If the data are printed or stored on another web site, we request that the acknowledgement accompany the data.
  • If the data are used in any published accounts, the acknowledgement should be cited.
  • Analyses of the coronal data are greatly enhanced by collaborations with scientists both inside and outside the LASCO team. Collaborations are highly encouraged.
    No funds are available from LASCO for collaborators, but we do offer the data, a considerable resource.
    We strongly recommend that if you are not familiar with the data, that you collaborate with a member of the consortium.
  • All Level 1 or Level 2 products will be available for unrestricted use. We continue to validate the calibrations and therefore we strongly recommend that you contact a member of the team to see if there is an updated calibration that might affect your work.


No registration is needed to access or download the LASCO data.

Retrieving Data

The LASCO archive is a collection of data files and documentation. All of the on-line documentation is available at the LASCO home page. The data files can be grouped into various image types with different formats. The image formats are either FITS, JPEG, GIF or postscript. Files of movies are in either the MPEG-1 or MVI format. All of the formats are international or defacto standards, except for the MVI format, which is an internal LASCO format. A number of IDL procedures have been written to handle MVI files.
The catalog system is a listing of all of the level 0.5 and 1.0 products (image files). The list had been managed by the Sybase Database Management System (DBMS) but is now managed by the open source DBMS MySQL. The interface to the DBMS from the Web is "wdb", originally written by the Space Telescope/European Coordination Facility (ST/ECF) and enables queries to be constructed. The output of the query is a list of images that satisfies the criteria that were selected. A pointer to the individual FITS images is also returned. This pointer enables the FITS image to be returned if desired. Since these files are in FITS format, you will need a viewer such as SAOIMAGE or DS9 to view them. Each file contains a single exposure. Separate, but related, images may be grouped together into a logical dataset. A small "browse" image is also available in JPEG format.
Many of the other products are available by following the links found in the data products web page. To select a file or files you start by using the catalog query. The file names are a combination of the telescope indication, the processing level and then a sequential file number. Thus the catalog system allows you to relate observations that meet the desired criteria with the files. To start, you might be interested in the observations for a given date and telescope.


If you use the data or some product based on the data, we ask that you tell us that you are using it, send us a copy of the resulting research report or paper and that you include an acknowledgement as follows:
"The SOHO/LASCO data used here are produced by a consortium of the Naval Research Laboratory (USA), Max-Planck-Institut fuer Aeronomie (Germany), Laboratoire d'Astronomie (France), and the University of Birmingham (UK). SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA."

Please note that the MPI for Aeronomy (MPAe) has changed its name to the Max-Planck-Institut for Sonnensystemforschung (MPS) and that the Laboratoire d'Astronomie (LAS) has changed its name to the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique Marseille (LAM).