Season Greetings
Images: Pixabay/ESDC

The ESDC in 2019

ESDC 2019

Now that 2019 is almost over, it is time to look back and review all the achievements from the closing year, which has been full of exciting projects for us at the ESDC.
We welcomed January with new and challenging tasks: the beginning of the development of HREDA., the archive that will host all the science data from ESA’s Human and Robotic Exploration Directorate, including sensitive datasets that require special protection. Work has progressed quickly and the first internal release is being tested. We also started the development of the INTEGRAL Legacy Science Archive, which will host the legacy data products from this high-energy mission.
We announced as well the final release of the LISA Pathfinder Legacy Archive that marked the end of the operational phase for the mission. Although conceived as a simple proof-of-concept for LISA, successfully demonstrating the technologies needed to build a space gravitational wave observatory, LISA Pathfinder has also turned out to be a very useful tool for the study of micrometeoroids near Earth –one more example of how public archival data can lead to scientific results far beyond their original scope.
We also put together the first standalone version of the PROBA-2 Science Archive in May, offering users for the first time the possibility to query all instrument data over time, spectral range and processing level; and of the HCV Explorer in September, a new tool to browse and download data and light curves from the Hubble Catalog of Variables .
The Planetary Science Archive (PSA) continued to grow. In addition to new deliveries from Rosetta and Mars Express, the PSA got the first public data from the BepiColombo mission, a sample of images of the spacecraft itself taken with the three miniaturised cameras on the Mercury Transfer Module. The PSA also featured data of interest for the Heliophysics community, such as Rosetta data in CDF format and Venus Express and Mars Express solar wind data from their ASPERA instruments. Also in the field of Heliophysics, newly calibrated SUMER data products were delivered to the SOHO Science Archive, while the Cluster Science Archive now features an improved user interface and the possibility to generate on-demand inventory plots.
In Astronomy, the Gaia Archive offered enlarged user space and featured a new external Table Access Protocol (TAP) functionality to reach data from other data centres, as well as other improvements. It also added RUWE parameter data, widely used to estimate the quality of the Gaia measurements. The XMM-Newton Science Archive now includes a new spectra visualiser that was very welcome by its users. Thanks to the consolidation of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) pipelines in all data centres, all data holdings of the European HST Science Archive (EHST) are now synchronised with the archives at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Canadian Astronomical Data Center. Also the Planck Legacy Archive was updated with interface improvements, the integration of the Planck Catalogue of Non-thermal Sources and new Cosmology data products. And the Herschel Science Archive widened its data collections with the SPIRE Automated Feature Extraction Catalogue, new Highly Processed Data Products and new PACS on- and off-source data products.
And there is more: ESASky got even better with new functionalities, including a Spanish version of the tool, more data from ESA missions and others, and an external TAP functionality. We also featured pyESASky, a python widget to use ESASky within a Jupyter Notebook or JupyterLab. And in June, short before Asteroid Day, we presented Hubble Asteroid Hunter, ESDC’s first citizen science project, which was an immediate success with more than 1900 volunteers identifying asteroid trails in nearly 11,000 images from the EHST, and providing around 300,000 classifications in less than two months. The project was relaunched with a new image set in October, with the time of the ESA Open Day at ESAC.
None of this would have been possible without the feedback and requests from our users, who have downloaded nearly 440 Terabytes of data from our archives between January and October. We thus conclude this summary by thanking you all for your continued support, and by looking forward to the projects and challenges that the new year will bring to us.
Images: ESA/ESDC/M. Thévenot

New bulk reprocessed data and new catalogues in the XMM-Newton Science Archive

By J.V. Perea, P.Rodriguez, N.Loiseau, E.Colomo, J. Kajava, J. Ebrero, N.Webb, I.Traulsen et al.
XSA v12.0

The new release of the XMM-Newton Science Archive (XSA v12.0) provides access to the 4XMM (DR9) Catalogue, to the 4XMM (DR9s) Stacked Catalogue and to bulk reprocessed PPS pipeline products.
The XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre (SOC) has undertaken, during 2019, a full reprocessing of all XMM-Newton observations in the archive. This is the third such bulk reprocessing exercise, the first one undertaken during 2006/2007, and the second one in 2012. The complete reprocessing in 2019 used an enhanced processing pipeline with new versions of the SAS data analysis tasks and updated calibrations, generating an homogeneous set of pipeline products for all the instruments and all the observations performed by XMM-Newton.
The 4XMM-DR9 EPIC source catalogue and the 4XMM-DR9s EPIC stacked source catalogue have been constructed from observations spanning from the launch of XMM until Feb. 26, 2019 and Nov. 13, 2018, respectively.
Image: ESA/XMM-Newton SOC

Gaia Archive: Update to HTTPS

By A. Mora, J. González & J. Bakker
Gaia Archive access

In order to comply with ESA security guidelines, the Gaia Archive will only be served using https starting on February 1st, 2020. Requests to the old http access point will be automatically redirected. However, existing scripts may fail to be rerouted.
For example, users may experience problems with old Astroquery versions or hard-coded URLs. In such cases, they will have to update Astroquery, or replace http by https in your code when needed. Some examples can be found in the GUI Help (Command line access).
This upgrade also has an effect on the SAMP functionality. Due to a technical incompatibility of SAMP with HTTPS, the SAMP interface has been deactivated and the SAMP button has been removed from the query results interface.
Please contact the Helpdesk if you still experience problems.
Images: ESA/ESDC

Studying the Martian ionosphere with Mars Express

By O. Witasse

Our article “A new method for determining the total electron content in Mars' ionosphere based on Mars Express MARSIS data” has just been accepted in Planetary and Space Science.
The paper is based on the new Mars Express MARSIS subsurface data released a few months ago. The method iterates a model ionosphere in order to simultaneously match the ionospheric delays of the signals received by the radar's two channels by finding the model which minimizes the root mean square error (RMSE) between the measured and simulated delays.
This is probably the first paper with subsurface data taken from the Planetary Science Archive.
Image: O. Witasse/Planetary and Space Science

Cluster data now available in CDF ISTP format

By A. Masson

Since version 2.5, the Cluster Science Archive offers the possibility to download science datasets in CDF ISTP compliant format (Common Data Format with International Solar-Terrestrial Program metadata standards). This is a major step forward to boost interoperability with NASA sponsored data analysis software and Heliophsyics python libraries.

Establishment of the International Heliophysics Data Environment Alliance

By S. F. Fung, A. Masson, A. Roberts, T. King, C. Arviset, G. de Marchi, Y. Miyoshi & B. Cecconi
Space Weather

We are delighted to announce the establishment of the International Heliophysics Data Environment Alliance (the IHDEA). The Heliophysics community has long been in the era of big data, particularly in terms of data complexity. Research analysis and modelling efforts to understand heliophysical phenomena and space weather events and to develop and validate tools for space weather forecasts have to rely on the availability, accessibility and usability of diverse (space-based and ground-based) Heliophysics and space weather data products. In recognition of the importance of international coordination and collaboration in making the diverse observation and simulation data resources available for supporting Heliophysics and space weather research, a series of meetings were held with representatives from NASA, ESA (through the ESDC), CNES, JAXA (ISAS), and Nagoya University-ISEE. One major outcome of those meetings is the formation of the IHDEA to guide the development of an open Heliophysics data environment.
The IHDEA vision entails enabling the international Heliophysics research community to seamlessly find, access, and use all relevant electronically accessible data sets in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). The IHDEA will focus on:

  1. Enabling efficient exchange of and access to the diverse data products obtained from space missions, ground-based experiments, and models;
  2. Fostering coordinated development of existing and future Heliophysics standards for data, metadata, and services to enable interoperability; and
  3. Promoting and assisting the adoption of the above standards.
The IHDEA recognizes standardization and interoperability efforts by international bodies in other domains and will coordinate and collaborate with them when appropriate. Further information about the IHDEA (reviewing the Charter and Bylaws documents, becoming an active member with voting rights, and subscribing to news) can be found on its website.
Image: NASA

Fourth ESA/ESO SciOps Workshop

By B. López Martí
SciOps Group Photo

The ESA/ESO SciOps Workshop 2019 was held at ESAC from November 19 to 22. This collaborative workshop is celebrated every two years with the goal of sharing experience in the science operations of space and ground-based observatories from ESA, ESO and other facilities.
The topic of this year’s edition was “Cross-facilities collaboration in the multi-messenger era”. Attendants discussed the challenges and lessons learned in the collaborations between large scientific teams, the adaptation of facilities to provide scientists with access to time and data for multi-messenger programmes, the tools, standards and servicies needed to support coordination between facilities and teams, and the cultural and policy changes required to enable multi-facilities time allocation, observation scheduling and data sharing.
In this context, ESA members talked about the prospects of multi-messenger astrophysics with Athena and LISA, cross-facilities and multi-mission collaborations in joint programmes and coordinated observations, survey operations for the Euclid mission and the potential of machine learning in science operations. Deborah Baines, Astronomy Science Lead at the ESDC, presented the latest release of ESASky, which gathered much attention from the workshop participants, especially its new external TAP functionality.
The sessions could also be followed in streaming. Videos are available in the ESAC YouTube channel.
Image: P. Kretschmar