Plate Tech Tonic

posted: 2645 days ago, on Sunday, 2010 Oct 24 at 00:32
tags: astronomy, astrophotography, history, SAAO.

The world's largest collection of astronomical photographic glass plates is going digital. Slowly.

The Harvard College Observatory archive holds half a million glass plates recording a century's worth of observations covering the entire night sky.

Scientific American has an update on the progress of this mammoth task.

The situation in South Africa where astrophotography was invented, by David Gill at the then-Royal Observatory in Cape Town is less rosy.

Three years ago, essentially the entire collection of photographic plates housed at the SAAO in Cape Town were destroyed. Details of what happened to the plates were documented in a 2007 article, "SAAO photographic plate store destroyed".

Recently, a collection of glass plates housed in the old CSIR archives in Pretoria narrowly escaped a similar fate when ASSA members removed them to temporary storage in Johannesburg. Their fate remains uncertain as of this writing.

via: Maciej Soltynski (SciAm link)

nothing more to see. please move along.