SunPy is a free and open-source software library for solar physics based on Python.

SunPy is a community-developed free and open-source software package for solar physics. SunPy is meant to be a free alternative to the SolarSoft data analysis environment which is based on the IDL scientific programming language sold by Exelis. Though SolarSoft is open-source IDL is not and can be prohibitively expensive. The aim of the SunPy project is to provide the software tools necessary so that anyone can analyze solar data. SunPy is written using the Python programming language and is build upon the scientific Python environment which includes the core packages NumPy, SciPy. The development of SunPy is associated with that of Astropy. SunPy was founded on March 28, 2011 by a small group of scientists and developers at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Thanks to the generous support of the ESA Summer of Code and the Google Summer of Code as well as contributors from around the world, SunPy is now a global project and is not associated with any individual institution.

SunPy is a living code base with many contributors. Anyone can and is welcome to get involved.

SunPy (the project) is run by the SunPy organization. This organization was founded and defined by this document. Its primary goal is to facilitate and promote the use and development of a community-led, free and open-source solar data-analysis software based on the scientific Python environment. The organization consists of a lead developer, a board of directors, and the developer community. The purpose of the board is to lead the overal structure and direction of SunPy while the lead developer works with the developer community to implement it.

The SunPy board is composed of the following members (in alphabetical order)

  • Steven Christe (chair)
  • Russell Hewett
  • Andrew Inglis (secretary)
  • Jack Ireland
  • Stuart Mumford
  • Juan Carlos Martínez Oliveros
  • David Perez-Suarez (vice-chair)
  • Kevin Reardon
  • Thomas Robitaille
  • Albert Shih
The SunPy Lead Developer is
  • Stuart Mumford
Members of the development community are too numerous to list here but a list of anyone who contributed code to SunPy is available on Github. Anyone is welcome to participate in the SunPy organization.

SunPy is an alternative to the popular SolarSoft analysis environment

The IDL-based SolarSoft analysis environment is a mature and rich code base to do Solar physics. Unfortunately not every person or institution have the capital necessary to fund a yearly IDL license. With the rise of scientific computing in Python new tools are now available to make developing the basics of a solar data analysis environment straightforward.

Stay up to date on the development of SunPy and interact with the community with these helpful resources.

Anyone can and is welcome to get involved. Many methods of interactions are provide and please refer to our Code of Conduct.
  • Read and subscribe to The SunPy Blog.
  • Subscribe to the SunPy mailing list.
  • Join us on github and add a feature request or bug report to our issue list.
  • Chat with fellow SunPy users or developers using IRC on the server, in the #sunpy channel.
  • Join us at one of our weekly meetings. Check out our calendar to find the next one.

We are looking forward to meeting you!

If you have used SunPy in your scientific work we would appreciate it if you would acknowledge it.

The continued growth and development of SunPy is dependent on the community being aware of the use SunPy. If you use SunPy, we therefore ask that you acknowledge SunPy appropriately in a publication or presentation (poster or talk).

  • For a publication, we recommend the following line be added to the conclusion or acknowledgements

    This research has made use of SunPy, an open-source and free community-developed solar data analysis package written in Python (citation).

    where the citation is to the SunPy v0.5 paper / arXiv (open access) (Bib reference) If the journal allows please also include a link to If you have the time please email us to let us know about your paper as we maintain a public list of papers on Zotero.
  • For a poster, talks, or project websites, please include the Sunpy logo on the title, conclusion slide, or about page. For websites please link the image to
    Other versions of the logo are available in the sunpy-logo repository.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.

Part of SunPy has been developed with help from the Google and ESA Summer of Code programs.

Part of the development of SunPy has been generously supported by the Google Summer of Code (GSOC) as well as the European Space Agency Summer of Code in Space (SOCIS). Both of these programs have funded several students to work on SunPy for a few months (usually during the summer).

SunPy would like to thank both of these programs for their support.