WG Activity Report (11 August 2012)

Following questions were posted for discussion by all members of the WG:

  1. Synoptic data and data products: What kind of data and data products should be part of long-term synoptic programs? (For example, existing programs take H-alpha, He10830 full disk images, some observe sun-as-a-star in various wavelengths etc. Should all these existing observations continue “forever” or some may not be necessary (e.g., low spatial resolution full disk images in a redundant wavelength)? Should the existing synoptic data sets be prioritized, and if so, what is the most important set of synoptic data that should have the highest priority for continuation? Are there specific data that are missing in existing synoptic programs? What kind of synoptic data products and indices are needed to fulfill the requirements of non-scientific end-users: commercial operators (space, telecoms, gas, electricity), decision makers (cf. climate change) and the general public?
  2. As long-term synoptic observations do not fit well in the current short-term funding schemes and are thus cut from the main “classical” funding sources (national and international), what are the best funding channels and strategies to support synoptic programs? How and where can solar synoptic programs be better integrated in thematic lists of global science funding policies (NSF, EU/FP, etc.)? Could a much closer international collaboration/coordination in building and operating integrated synoptic programs be pursued to leverage funding from national sources? What are the key arguments to use when promoting and advocating long-term ground-based synoptic programs versus the “mainstream” (space missions, real-time space weather)?
  3. Should this IAU working group serve as an expert board for defining/recommending ground-based synoptic data standards?  Should this IAU working group be involved (and at what level) in advocating for funding to specific programs? (e.g. lobbying for IAU resolutions, lobbying national funding agencies, official support letters to individual funding requests etc).
  4. How can we improve the compatibility of synoptic data collected at different times and different observatories? (cross-calibration, file format, catalogs, etc.; past, current and future data). In particular, how can we better interface with future global solar data portals (VSO, HELIO, etc.), e.g. in terms of metadata?
  5. How can we bring ground-based data production to standards similar to those of space missions (continuity, uniformity)? How can we build better synergies between ground based synoptic observations and solar space missions?
  6. What is the best way to provide synoptic data to users? How do we ensure the preservation and maintenance of digital data sets served by different providers (national centers, universities etc). How can current off-the-shelf technologies (internet/web applications, image processing, data storage, etc.) help expanding the current synoptic capabilities? Conversely, which new tailor-made technologies should be developed specifically to meet the new requirements of synoptic observations?