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Exploring the Limits of Synthetic Creation of Solar EUV Images via Image−to−Image Translation

Valentina Salvatelli‚ Luiz Fernando Guedes dos Santos‚ Souvik Bose‚ Brad Neuberg‚ Mark Cheung‚ Miho Janvier‚ Meng Jin‚ Yarin Gal and Atılım Güneş Baydin


The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a NASA multi-spectral decade-long mission that has been daily producing terabytes of observational data from the Sun, has been recently used as a use-case to demonstrate the potential of machine learning methodologies and to pave the way for future deep-space mission planning. In particular, the idea of using image-to-image translation to virtually produce extreme ultra-violet channels has been proposed in several recent studies, as a way to both enhance missions with less available channels and to alleviate the challenges due to the low downlink rate in deep space. This paper investigates the potential and the limitations of such a deep learning approach by focusing on the permutation of four channels and an encoder–decoder based architecture, with particular attention to how morphological traits and brightness of the solar surface affect the neural network predictions. In this work we want to answer the question: can synthetic images of the solar corona produced via image-to-image translation be used for scientific studies of the Sun? The analysis highlights that the neural network produces high-quality images over three orders of magnitude in count rate (pixel intensity) and can generally reproduce the covariance across channels within a 1% error. However the model performance drastically diminishes in correspondence of extremely high energetic events like flares, and we argue that the reason is related to the rareness of such events posing a challenge to model training.

The Astrophysical Journal
2022 (to appear)