Creating a visualization with ArrayAnimatorWCS

This example shows how to create a simple visualization using ArrayAnimatorWCS.

# Start by importing the necessary modules.

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

import astropy.units as u
import astropy.wcs

from import AIA_171_IMAGE, AIA_193_IMAGE
from sunpy.time import parse_time
from sunpy.visualization.animator import ArrayAnimatorWCS

To showcase how to visualize a sequence of 2D images using ArrayAnimatorWCS, we will use images from our sample data. The problem with this is that they are not part of a continuous dataset. To overcome this we wil do two things. Create a stacked array of the images and create a WCS header. The easiest method for the array is to create a MapSequence.

# Here we only use two files but you could pass in a larger selection of files.
map_sequence =, AIA_193_IMAGE, sequence=True)

# Now we can just cast the sequence away into a NumPy array.
sequence_array = map_sequence.as_array()

Now we need to create the WCS header that ArrayAnimatorWCS will need. To create the new header we can use the stored meta information from the map_sequence.

# Now we need to get the time difference between the two observations.
t0, t1 = map(parse_time, [k['date-obs'] for k in map_sequence.all_meta()])
time_diff = (t1 - t0).to(u.s)

m = map_sequence[0]

wcs = astropy.wcs.WCS(naxis=3)
wcs.wcs.crpix = u.Quantity([0*u.pix] + list(m.reference_pixel))
wcs.wcs.cdelt = [time_diff.value] + list(u.Quantity(m.scale).value)
wcs.wcs.crval = [0, m._reference_longitude.value, m._reference_latitude.value]
wcs.wcs.ctype = ['TIME'] + list(m.coordinate_system)
wcs.wcs.cunit = ['s'] + list(m.spatial_units)
wcs.rsun = m.rsun_meters
wcs.heliographic_observer = m.observer_coordinate

# Now the resulting WCS object will look like:


WCS Keywords

Number of WCS axes: 3
CRVAL : 0.0  3.223099507700556  1.385781353025793
CRPIX : 0.0  511.5  511.5
PC1_1 PC1_2 PC1_3  : 1.0  0.0  0.0
PC2_1 PC2_2 PC2_3  : 0.0  1.0  0.0
PC3_1 PC3_2 PC3_3  : 0.0  0.0  1.0
CDELT : 5.0700000000020395  2.402792  2.402792
NAXIS : 0  0

Now we can create the animation. ArrayAnimatorWCS requires you to select which axes you want to plot on the image. All other axes should have a 0 and sliders will be created to control the value for this axis.

wcs_anim = ArrayAnimatorWCS(sequence_array, wcs, [0, 'x', 'y'], vmax=1000)

You might notice that the animation could do with having the axes look neater. ArrayAnimatorWCS provides a way of setting some display properties of the WCSAxes object on every frame of the animation via use of the coord_params dict. They keys of the coord_params dict are either the first half of the CTYPE key, the whole CTYPE key or the entries in wcs.world_axis_physical_types here we use the short ctype identifiers for the latitude and longitude axes.

coord_params = {
    'hpln': {
        'axislabel': 'Helioprojective Longitude',
        'ticks': {'spacing': 10*u.arcmin, 'color': 'black'}
    'hplt': {
        'axislabel': 'Helioprojective Latitude',
        'ticks': {'spacing': 10*u.arcmin, 'color': 'black'}

# We have to recreate the visualization since we displayed it earlier.
wcs_anim = ArrayAnimatorWCS(sequence_array, wcs, [0, 'x', 'y'], vmax=1000,

Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 1.898 seconds)

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