The Night Sky: Past and Present

Posted by Catherine Hiles on

Early astronomical observations were made visually, and only a few records exist from sketches and notes by pioneer astronomers. From the mid-1800s into the 1990s, astronomers used glass plates, and occasionally film, to record celestial objects. Today, they use digital images to capture the night sky for posterity, but what happens to the first 120 years of night-sky record keeping?

In this video from QUEST North Carolina, students will learn about the history of astronomical photography, discover what can be learned from looking at old photographic plates and understand the role scientists and “citizen scientists” can play in such research. They will also learn about researchers’ work to digitally catalogue past night sky record-keeping and enable time-domain astronomy studies

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