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Reviving Deep Sky Images from the Past

15 Oct 2018, 17:03 UTC
Reviving Deep Sky Images from the Past
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

These days we take in data at such a clip that a mission like New Horizons will generate papers for decades. The same holds true for our burgeoning databanks of astronomical objects observed from the ground. So it only makes sense that we begin to recover older datasets, in this case the abundant imagery β€” photographs, radio maps, telescopic observations β€” collected in the pre-digital archives of scientific journals. The citizen science project goes by the name Astronomy Rewind, and it’s actively resurrecting older images for comparison with new data.
Launched in 2017, Astronomy Rewind originally classified scans in three categories: 1) single images with coordinate axes; 2) multiple images with such axes; and 3) single or multiple images without such axes. On October 9, the next phase of the project launched, in which visitors to the site can use available coordinate axes or other arrows, captions and rulers to work out the precise location of each image on the sky and fix its angular scale and orientation.

Image: Astronomer E. E. Barnard photographed the Rho Ophiuchi nebula near the border of Scorpius in 1905 through a 10-inch refractor. When he published the image in the Astrophysical Journal five years ...

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