Toward a Virtual Solar Observatory:
Starting Before the Petabytes Fall

Joseph B. Gurman
Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Although a few, large, space- and groundbased solar physics databases exist at selected locations, there is as yet only limited standardization or interoperability. I describe the outline of a plan to facilitate access to a distributed network of online solar data archives, both large and small. The underlying principle is that the user need not know where the data are, only how to specify which data are desired.

At the least, such an approach could considerably simplify the scientific user's access to the enormous amount of solar physics data to be obtained in the next decade. At best, it might mean the withering away of traditional data centers, and all the bureaucracy they entail.

This work is supported by the Sun-Earth Connections Division of NASA Office of Space Science, thanks to an anomalous act of largess on the part of the 2001 SEC Senior Review.

Web curator: Joseph B. Gurman
Responsible NASA official:
Joseph B. Gurman, Facility Scientist, Solar Data Analysis Center
+1 301 286-4767

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Solar Physics Branch / Code 682
Greenbelt, MD 20771