Vol 24, No 5

Digitization of Astronomical Photographic Plates of China and Astrometric Measurement of Single-exposure Plates

Zheng-Jun Shang (商正君), Yong Yu (于涌), Liang-Liang Wang (王亮亮), Mei-Ting Yang (杨美婷), Jing Yang (杨静), Shi-Yin Shen (沈世银), Min Liu (刘敏), Quan-Feng Xu (徐权峰), Chen-Zhou Cui (崔辰州), Dong-Wei Fan (樊东卫) et al.


From the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century, photographic plates served as the primary detectors for astronomical observations. Astronomical photographic observations in China began in 1901, and over a century, a total of approximately 30,000 astronomical photographic plates were captured. These historical plates play an irreplaceable role in conducting long-term, time-domain astronomical research. To preserve and explore these valuable original astronomical observational data, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory has organized the transportation of plates, taken during nighttime observations from various stations across the country, to the Sheshan Plate Archive for centralized preservation. For the first time, plate information statistics were calculated. On this basis, the plates were cleaned and digitally scanned, and finally digitized images were acquired for 29,314 plates. In this study, using Gaia DR2 as the reference star catalog, astrometric processing was carried out successfully on 15,696 single-exposure plates, including object extraction, stellar identification, and plate model computation. As a result, for long focal length telescopes, such as the 40 cm double-tube refractor telescope, the 1.56 m reflector telescope at Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, and the 1m reflecting telescope at Yunnan Astronomical Observatory, the astrometric accuracy obtained for their plates is approximately . The distribution of astrometric accuracy for medium and short focal length telescopes ranges from . The relevant data of this batch of plates, including digitized images and a stellar catalog of the plates, are archived and released by the National Astronomical Data Center. Users can access and download plate data based on keywords such as station, telescope, observation year, and observed celestial coordinates.


Key words: methods: data analysis – techniques: image processing – astronomical databases: miscellaneous – astrometry

Full Text

There are currently no refbacks.