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RE: Harvard College Observatory

Harvard College Observatory
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Latitude: 42.381431, Longitude: -71.128405



Posts: 131433

The Harvard College Observatory, home to half a million glass photographic plates of the night sky from over 100 years of observations, is currently in the midst of one of the greatest preservation efforts in astronomical history.
But faculty at the observatory hope that making high-resolution digital copies of all the platesa project slated to take five yearswill also help modern astronomers as they probe current mysteries of the universe through a detailed look into the past.

This is all going to be public information. Anyone in the world will essentially be getting a centurys worth of free telescope time - Alison Doane, the curator of the three floors of cramped stacks at the observatory.

Doane put the price tag of the project over the next five years at roughly $5 million.

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The plates with the widest sky coverage (focal scales of 400 to 600 arcsec/mm; some 20% of the collection) are filed by region, making them very quickly available to the user. The remainder are accessible through card catalogues, which are substantially complete.
The plate collection also contains a small number of yellow and red plates, with the same characteristics as the blue plates, but not reaching as faint. However, a variety of emulsions and filters were used, and thus the compatibility of data from these plates with other data may be suspect.
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