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Ulysses HISCALE Data Analysis Handbook


Appendix 3. Common Data File: Rules and User's Guide


A3.1 General


A3.1.1 Definition and Purpose of CDF


The Ulysses Common Data File (CDF) is a computer­generated file, processed and reduced to physical parameters to yield a time­ordered record of science data. The set of CDF parameters is directly derived from the telemetry stream, without human intervention, based on algorithms of moderate complexity provided by the investigators and implemented by the Ulysses Data Management Team at JPL. Each parameter is based on data of one specific instrument only. Since relatively simple algorithms are used, the CDF parameters may not be absolutely accurate; in particular, the accuracy may depend on interplanetary conditions or instrument operating modes.


The purpose of the CDF is to provide all investigators with evidence of data trends, significant events, etc., and to permit individual investigators to identify interesting time periods for further detailed analysis and correlative studies.


A3.1.2 Rules for CDF Use


The SWT has agreed on a general policy for the use of the CDF within the Ulysses community. The main purpose of this policy is to ensure the proprietary data rights of the PI and his team (see also Appendix C of this chapter). The key features of this policy are:


  • The CDF is to be used for correlative studies only. The CDF is not to be taken as a source of data for detailed analysis.
  • Studies that use the data from the CDF should, in general, be conducted in collaboration with the appropriate investigator team.
  • No CDF data are to be published without the permission of the appropriate PI.




A3.2 CDF Contents and Products


A3.2.1 CDF Data Channels


The CDF data channels selected by the Ulysses Science Working Team from a number of investigations are listed in Table A3-1.


Table A3.1 Ulysses investigations contributing to the CDF


Title Scientific Acronym Experiment Code
Magnetic Field VHM/FGM HED
Solar Wind (Ions) SWOOPS BAM
Solar Wind Ion Composition SWICS GLG
Energetic Particles HISCALE LAN
Energetic Particles EPAC KEP
Cosmic Rays and Solar Particles COSPIN SIM
Radio and Plasma Waves URAP STO


The data channels included on the CDF tape/CD­ROM are listed in detail in Table A3-2 (below).


Notes for Table A3.2:


1) Spacecraft coordinates. 
2) Applies to 1024 and 512 bps S/C data rate (nominal operations). Resolution becomes 26 min at 256 bps and 52 min at 128 bps. 
3) LET geometrical factor : 0.58 cm2 sr. 
4) HET geometrical factors: H2: 87 cm2 sr; H5: 5.2­3.6 cm2 sr; H8: 16.2­14.9 cm2 sr. 
5) KET geometrical factors: E4: 0.26 cm2 sr; E12: 0.40 cm2 sr.


Table A3.2 Ulysses CDF Data Channels


  Channel/Description Units Time Reso-
lution (min)
Bx Bx Magnetic field x-component 1) nt 4.266
By By Magnetic field x-component 1) nt  
Bz Bz Magnetic field x-component 1) nt  
Vx SW plasma ion velocity (X-comp) km s-1 21.33
Vy SW plasma ion velocity (Y-comp) km s-1  
Vz SW plasma ion velocity (Z-comp) km s-1  
Ni SW plasma ion density cm-3  
Ti SW plasma ion temperature ºK  
Na SW alpha particle density cm-3 13 2)
Va SW alpha particle velocity km s-1  
Jz SW heavy ion (Z>2) flux cm2 s-1
P2' Ion flux (0.077-0.127 MeV) cm-2 s-1 sr-1 MeV-1 8.553
P5' Ion flux (0.366-0.601 MeV) cm-2 s-1 sr-1 MeV-1
DE2 Electron flux (0.053-0.103 MeV)    
DE4 Electron flux (0.175-0.315 MeV)    
W3 Heavy ion flux (0.39-1.28 MeV) cm-2 s-1 sr-1 MeV/n-1
W5 Heavy ion flux (0.46-1.71 MeV) cm-2 s-1 sr-1 MeV/n-1
OP Proton flux (0.5-1.6 MeV) cm-2 s-1 sr-1 17.066
L3+L12 Proton rate (1.8-8.0 MeV) s-1 17.066
L24+L25 Alpha rate (4.0-19 MeV/n) s-1  
L28 CNO rate (2.6-7.1 MeV/n) s-1
H2 Proton rate (14-19 MeV) s-1 17.066
H5 Proton rate (68-92 MeV) s-1  
H8 Proton rate (3-5 MeV) s-1
E4 Electron rate (2.5-7 MeV) s-1 17.066
E12 Electron rate (7-170 MeV) s-1  
ELF Ave. power (10-100 Hz)  V2m-2 4.266
ELF Peak  power (10-100 Hz) V2m-2  
ELF Ave. power (100-500 Hz) V2m-2  
ELF Peak  power (100-500 Hz) V2m-2  
VLF Ave. power (0.5-2 kHz) V2m-2  
VLF Peak  power (0.5-2 kHz) V2m-2  
VLF Ave. power (2-8 kHz) V2m-2  
VLF Peak  power (2-8 kHz) V2m-2  
VLF Ave. power (8-32 kHz) V2m-2  
VLF Peak  power (8-32 kHz) V2m-2  
FES Fast Envelope Sampler Upper Band dB  
FES Lower Band dB  
FES Status Flags  


A3.2.2 CDF Plots


B. E. Goldstein (MS 169­506, JPL) has undertaken to distribute standard plots of selected CDF channels to all PI teams, coinciding with the CDF release by the JPL Ulysses Data Management Team. These standard plots are produced with a scale of 1 cm/day, 16 days per page, i.e., 2 plots per calendar month. The contents of the four types of CDF plots are listed in Table A3-3. Refer to Table A3-2 for details of the parameters plotted.


Table A3.3 CDF plots


Parameter Units
SW plasma ion density cm-3
SW plasma ion temperature °K
SW plasma ion velocity km s-1
Magnetic field magnitude nT
Magnetic field elevation (theta) in RTN coords. degrees
Magnetic field azimuth (phi) in RTN coords. degrees
SW alpha flux cm-2s-1
SW heavy ion flux (Z>2) cm-2s-1
OP proton flux cm-2s-1
P2' energetic ion flux cm-2s-1sr-1MeV-1
DE2 electron flux cm-2s-1sr-1MeV-1
L3+L12 proton rate s-1
H5 proton rate s-1
E4 electron rate s-1
ELF ave. power (10 - 100 Hz) V2m-2
ELF ave. power (100 - 500 Hz) V2m-2
VLF ave. and peak power (0.5 - 2 kHz) V2m-2
VLF ave. and peak power (2 - 8 kHz) V2m-2
VLF ave. and peak power (8 - 32 kHz) V2m-2


A3.3 Reference Documents


Ref. 1: Ulysses Software Interface Specification, Common Data File, SIS2sd; JPL 628­306 dated April 7, 1993. 
Ref. 2: Ulysses Science Data Management Plan, JPL 628­55, Rev. C dated March 1993 
Ref. 3: Ulysses Instruments, Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series, 92, No. 2, 207­440, January 1992.




Return to Ulysses HISCALE Data Analysis Handbook Table of Contents


Updated 8/8/19, Cameron Crane


Manufacturer: ESA provided the Ulysses spacecraft, NASA provided the power supply, and various others provided its instruments.

Mission End Date: June 30, 2009

Destination: The inner heliosphere of the sun away from the ecliptic plane

Orbit:  Elliptical orbit transversing the polar regions of the sun outside of the ecliptic plane