Solar flares - lists and notation

This gives some information related to flares and IDL.

The GOES workbench

The best starting point for getting information about flares from IDL is the GOES Workbench. To start it, just do:

IDL> goes

You can create interactive GOES plots for specified time intervals, and also see event lists (click on 'Event List' at the bottom of the widget). The list of flares seems to be the SWPC one (see below).


The "SOL" notation is quite often used for solar flares. For example SOL2014-09-10 to indicate an event on this date. The notation is described in Leibacher et al. (2010, Sol, Phys.) and is actually applicable to any solar event. In my experience, the use of the notation for flares is sporadic and for other events rare.

To include the precise time, the notation is SOL2014-09-20T17:45:00, where (I assume) the time is the peak of the flare (see the SWPC flare list section below).

SWPC flare list

I have a routine in the SSW IRIS tree that queries the HEK to obtain the SWPC flare list for a specified time interval:

IDL> flare_data=iris_hek_swpc_flares(starttime=starttime,endtime=endtime)

The output is a structure with tags for the flare peak time, GOES class and X,Y position.

I admit to not knowing where exactly this flare catalog comes from - I don't see it mentioned on the SWPC website. Also it seems to miss weak flares (below C?).

Page maintained by Dr Peter R Young.