Data recorded by the WISPR instrument during the first four solar encounters by Parker Solar Probe (PSP) have been publicly released. For future encounters, the data are to be made public at most three months from the date that all telemetry from that encounter has been received on the ground. 

WISPR Data User Guide

The latest release of the WISPR Data Users Guide is available here as a PDF document. It provides an overview of WISPR, the data products, the FITS header parameters, and contact information for the various Team Members. We also strongly encourage users to refer to the WISPR Calibration paper, Hess et al., 2021 available online via ADS and here (11M PDF) as a pre-print.

Available Data

Data is currently available for:

  • Encounter 1 (10-31-2018 - 11-11-2018)
  • Encounter 2 (03-30-2019 - 04-10-2019)
  • Encounter 3 (08-27-2019 - 09-07-2019, with limited additional data 08-17-2019 - 09-18/-2019)
  • Encounter 4 (01-23-2020 - 02-04-2020, with limited additional data 12-17-2019 - 02-17-2020)
  • Encounter 5 (06-01-2020 - 06-13-2020, with limited additional data 04-25-2020 - 07-07-2020)
  • Encounter 6 (09-19-2020 - 10-13-2020, with limited additional data 08-08-2020 - 10-31-2020)
  • Encounter 7 (01-11-2021 - 01-31-2021, with limited additional data 12-11-2020 - 02-19-2021)

Release dates for next encounters:  Encounter 8 (April 2021) data should be available around October 2021. 

Data Formats/Products

We are making several data products available including raw and processed images (science data and PNGs), and movies (animations) in different formats. The science data is provided in the FITS (Flexible Image Transport System), for which three different products are available: Level-1, Level-2 and Level-3, described below.

  • Level-1 (L1): de-compressed, uncalibrated image data with no correction applied, except for rectification, so that solar north is (approximately) up. Data units are DN.
  • Level-2 (L2): calibrated data in units of Mean Solar Brightness (MSB), with bias, stray light and vignetting corrections applied.
  • High-cadence L2: approximately half of WISPRs observations are high-cadence narrow field of view observations, designed for the high temporal resolution studies of solar outflow. These data are separated from the full-field science data as they are fundamentally different types of observation.
  • Level-3 (L3): data designed to reveal the variations in solar K-corona via a subtraction of a "background" model (L2b data; see below) that primarily removes the dominant F-coronal signal. These data are usually in units of MSB, though this should be verified by inspection of the FITS headers. We do not provide L3 data for the high-cadence observations. Important: please see our disclaimer about the L3 data product.
  • Level-2b (L2b): Generating appropriate background models for use with WISPR observations is complex, requiring at the very minimum the consideration of an entire encounter of observations as well as numerous corrections for instrumental effects, distance from the Sun, and other observing parameters. We are making these background models available as a Level-2b (L2b) data product. We do not provide backgrounds for the high-cadence data.
  • Summary: Plain ASCII text files that summarize the observations of each type recorded during each encounter.
  • PNGs: Browse images created using the L3 data product. These data are separated by encounter and by camera ("inner" and "outer")
  • MPGs and MVIs: movies in the MPEG and IDL/SolarSoft mvi formats.
  • CAL1 (calibration) data: Certain calibration data products are available via this website and WISPR database. These are clearly identified as calibration products. We strongly emphasize here that these data products are for testing and calibration purposes only and under no circumstances should be used for science without the explicit involvement of a WISPR Team member.

Choosing your data product

In most circumstances, we recommend use of the Level-2 or Level-3 data products for essentially all scientific analyses, both qualitative and quantitative. The PNG and mpg movie formats are appropriate for browsing the data but should not be used as quantitative science tools.

Data Access

The WISPR FITS science data can be accessed from our Database Query Form or via direct https links to either the individual files, or to zip file 'collections' of data. For convenience, our recommended starting point for obtaining WISPR data are our Encounter Summary Pages, which provide all links to the available data, organized by encounter, as well as supplementary information about the encounters (solar features, planet and comet transits, etc). Alternatively, all WISPR data products can be accessed via the links below.

FITS Data

Level-3 PNG images

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please see the notes below regarding the Encounter 6 "Ratio" images

While utilities like wget should work for retrieving data from the provided direct links, we recommend the use of our WISPR Database Query Form for retrieving individual file. Alternatively, for downloading of entire sets of data, we currently provide the below zip files. These zip files collectively contain all WISPR science data recorded during the encounters listed. Unless specified, the files contain data for both inner and outer cameras. The summary files, which contain the primary metadata for the observations, are also provided.


Data Collections (zip files)

Encounter 1

Encounter 2

Encounter 3

Encounter 4

Encounter 5

Encounter 6

Encounter 7

Summary (.txt) Files

PNG zip files

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please see the notes below regarding the Encounter 6 "Ratio" images


Movies/Animations

MPEGS/MP4s

MVIS (for IDL users only)

These movies are also available for in-browser viewing on this page.


Important Notes

WISPR Data Versions

As noted, processing and calibration of WISPR observations is extremely challenging. Accordingly, while we do not anticipate significant changes to the data, there may in the future be changes made to the L2 and L3 data products as our understanding of the observations and instrument behavior evolves, and as we receive more telemetry from future encounters. Thus, each .fits filename contains a version identifier (e.g. "V1" in file "psp_L3_wispr_20190404T053701_V1_1221.fits") identifying the release version.

Further to this, when new data version releases occur, the entire WISPR data archive - including files that may not have been changed - will be archived separately in a historical archive. This is to ensure that researchers can access older data that they may have used in their studies, or are wishing to replicate another study. You can access these archived versions of WISPR data on via this link, but we will reiterate that you should only use these archived data products if you have a specific need to do so (e.g. replicating a result previously obtained with those data). Otherwise, you should use the most recent release of data, linked to above.

The data release version can be tracked via the VERS_CAL FITS header keyword. The most current revision version is VERS_CAL=20200915. NOTE: The VERS_CAL keyword and V# in the filename corresponds only to the version of the given file that has been released, and so data in different orbits may have different version numbers, despite being processed with the same calibration procedure.

Q: Which data version do I need?

In almost ALL circumstances, the data files (zip files, etc) linked above are the most current release and should be used for any new or ongoing studies that utilize WISPR data. Only in rare or exceptional situations will the historical archived data be necessary. We encourage you to contact us if you think that you may need the historical data, or are unsure which data to use.

Encounter 6 anomalous excess brightness

Upon analysis of our Encounter 6 observations, we noted an anomalous, excess global brightness in the images from both telescopes in the time period between the beginning of September 26th until around noon on the 27th. The source of this anomalous brightening could not be identified yet (i.e., whether K-corona or dust related, instrumental, etc.). As a result, the processed L3 observations for this time period do not look as “clean” as for previous encounters, in particular for the inner camera.

Moreover, in order to collect more photons per exposure, a different gain setting was exercised in the images of the inner telescope during a few days around perihelion, which causes the signal to noise ratio of the images to be different between the sets obtained with different gain settings. This also affected the quality of the background scene in the processed L3 observations.

Thus, for this encounter and for the Inner camera only, we are providing, in addition to the standard L3 products (i.e., fits files, Level-3 PNGs, MVI, and MPG files), a new Level-3 data variant. The standard L3 version consists basically of the difference between the L2 data products and their respective L2b backgrounds, corrected by the instrumental artifacts. The new L3 "ratio" variant accounts for the background removal instead by considering the ratio between the L2 and L2b data products, also corrected by the instrumental artifacts. The L3 “ratio” variant performs better at displaying the K-corona variability and background scene, hence their release.

We are continuing to evaluate these observations to identify the source behind the excess brightness, and will provide updates as we have them.

L3 Disclaimer

The L2b and L3 data sets corresponding to the L2 data sets released on September 15, 2020 (orbits 1 through 4) have been created only for WISPR images acquired during nominal S/C pointing (i.e., while the S/C is sun-pointed with ecliptic roll angle <10 degrees). Images taken during S/C rolls or other non-nominal orientations exist in L1 and L2 formats only. However, in orbit 3 and 4 a small number of WISPR images were acquired when the S/C was rolled about 180 degrees. These require additional processing and we expect they will be released at a future time.

Moreover, the L3 data sets (and corresponding L2b backgrounds) were processed only for those images acquired during the WISPR nominal science window (i.e., when the S/C is within 0.25 AU from the Sun). In some cases, depending on the cadence of the WISPR observing program, a few days before and after the nominal science encounter are included (e.g., orbits 3 and 4).

The L3 data sets are intended to reveal discrete and dynamic K-corona structures in the solar corona (e.g., coronal mass ejections, blobs, continuous outflows) as well as quasi-stationary structures (e.g., coronal streamers). Note that some F-corona discrete features can also appear in these data sets (e.g., dust trails of comet/asteroid 3200 Phaethon, and 2P/Encke).  

The L3 images are best suited for tracking dynamic features. They are not photometrically accurate (details to appear in a paper under preparation) and hence are inappropriate for the determination of dynamical quantities such as CME masses (estimates of such parameters are possible with the L2 data sets for experienced users; consult with the WISPR science team for details). This is because the background determination might remove some K-coronal signal. We are working on establishing a quantitative assessment of the accuracy.

Data release history notes

Please refer to our WISPR Data Release Notes page for descriptions of any data version releases/revisions we have made.

Acknowledgements

Parker Solar Probe was designed, built, and is now operated by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory as part of NASA’s Living with a Star (LWS) program (contract NNN06AA01C). Support from the LWS management and technical team has played a critical role in the success of the Parker Solar Probe mission.​

The Wide-Field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) instrument was designed, built, and is now operated by the US Naval Research Laboratory in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory, California Institute of Technology/Jet Propulsion Laboratory, University of Gottingen, Germany, Centre Spatiale de Liege, Belgium and University of Toulouse/Research Institute in Astrophysics and Planetology.


The appropriate journal reference to use is Vourlidas, A. et al. (2016), The Wide-Field Imager for Solar Probe Plus (WISPR), Space Science Reviews, 204, 88–130, 10.1007/s11214-014-0114-y

WISPR Pub Number 1