Photographic plate

AGFA photographic plates, 1880
Mimosa Panchroma-Studio-Antihalo Panchromatic glass plates, 9 x 12cm, Mimosa A.-G. Dresden
Negative plate
Image resulting from a glass plate negative showing Devil's Cascade in 1900.

Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a capture medium in photography, and were still used in some communities up until the late 20th century.

- Photographic plate
AGFA photographic plates, 1880

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Sketch of Harvard's Great Refractor telescope

Harvard College Observatory

Institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for astronomical research by the Harvard University Department of Astronomy.

Institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for astronomical research by the Harvard University Department of Astronomy.

Sketch of Harvard's Great Refractor telescope

HCO houses a collection of approximately 500,000 astronomical plates taken between the mid-1880s and 1989 (with a gap from 1953–1968).

Box of photographic plates.

Dry plate

Box of photographic plates.

Dry plate, also known as gelatin process, is an improved type of photographic plate.

Basic view camera terminology

View camera

Large-format camera in which the lens forms an inverted image on a ground-glass screen directly at the film plane.

Large-format camera in which the lens forms an inverted image on a ground-glass screen directly at the film plane.

Basic view camera terminology
A Sanderson 'Hand' camera dating from circa 1899
Front standard shift
Front standard tilt
Front standard swing (top view)
Viewing through a Sinar F camera

At the other end of the bellows, the rear standard is a frame that holds a ground glass plate, used for focusing and composing the image before exposure—and is replaced by a holder containing the light-sensitive film, plate, or image sensor for exposure.

An image of Orion's Belt composited from digitized black-and-white photographic plates recorded through red and blue astronomical filters, with a computer synthesized green channel. The plates were taken using the Samuel Oschin Telescope between 1987 and 1991.

Astrophotography

Photography or imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky.

Photography or imaging of astronomical objects, celestial events, or areas of the night sky.

An image of Orion's Belt composited from digitized black-and-white photographic plates recorded through red and blue astronomical filters, with a computer synthesized green channel. The plates were taken using the Samuel Oschin Telescope between 1987 and 1991.
The large 48" Oschin Schmidt Camera at Palomar Observatory
Henry Draper with a refractor telescope set up for photography (photo probably taken in the 1860s or early 1870).
The first solar eclipse photograph was taken on July 28, 1851, by a daguerrotypist named Berkowski.
Henry Draper's 1880 photograph of the Orion Nebula, the first ever taken.
One of Andrew Ainslie Common's 1883 photographs of the same nebula, the first to show that a long exposure could record stars and nebulae invisible to the human eye.
The Hubble Space Telescope shortly after the STS-125 maintenance mission in 2009.
2 minute time exposure of the comet Hale-Bopp imaged using a camera on a fixed tripod. The tree in the foreground was illuminated using a small flashlight.
The Pleiades Star Cluster photographed with a 6 megapixel DSLR connected to an 80mm refracting telescope piggybacked on a larger telescope. Made from seven 180 second images combined and processed in Photoshop with a noise reduction plugin.
NGC281, popularly the 'Pacman Nebula', imaged from a suburban location using a 130mm amateur telescope and a DSLR camera.
An amateur astrophotography set up with an automated guide system connected to a laptop.
20sec exposure photograph taken with a tripod mounted DSLR camera with 18-55mm lens
Fixed tripod mounted camera capturing "star trails"
Star trails photographed in earth orbit from the International Space Station
Fixed tripod image of a solar eclipse using a digital-SLR camera with a 500 mm lens
1 minute exposure using ISO 800 film, wide angle lens, piggybacked on an equatorial telescope
Comet Hale-Bopp, camera with a 300mm lens piggybacked
Film image of the Andromeda Galaxy shot at the prime focus of an 8" f/4 Schmidt–Newton telescope
Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae in a montage of two film exposures with an 8" Schmidt–Newton telescope, manually guided
Image of the moon taken with a Nikon Coolpix P5000 digital camera via Afocal projection through an 8-inch Schmidt–Cassegrain telescope
The Moon photographed using the Afocal technique, using 10 seconds of video stacked to create a final image.
A composite of several Digital-SLR photos compiled in Photoshop taken via eyepiece projection from an 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.
Saturn image using negative projection (Barlow lens) with a webcam attached to a 250mm Newtonian telescope. It is a Composite image made from 10% of the best exposures out of 1200 images.
Jupiter photographed using the Afocal technique, using 10 seconds of video stacked to create a final image.

Specialized and ever-larger optical telescopes were constructed as essentially big cameras to record images on photographic plates.

Composite image of the GOODS-South field, result of a deep survey using two of the four giant 8.2-metre telescopes composing ESO's Very Large Telescope

National Geographic Society – Palomar Observatory Sky Survey

Composite image of the GOODS-South field, result of a deep survey using two of the four giant 8.2-metre telescopes composing ESO's Very Large Telescope

The National Geographic Society – Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (NGS-POSS, or just POSS, also POSS I) was a major astronomical survey, that took almost 2,000 photographic plates of the night sky.

Charon in true color, imaged by New Horizons

Charon (moon)

Largest of the five known natural satellites of the dwarf planet Pluto.

Largest of the five known natural satellites of the dwarf planet Pluto.

Charon in true color, imaged by New Horizons
Charon's discovery at the Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station as a time-varying bulge on the image of Pluto (seen near the top at left, but absent on the right). Negative image.
Charon is named after Charon, the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology, shown in this nineteenth-century painting by Alexander Litovchenko
A simulated view of the Pluto–Charon system showing that Pluto orbits a point outside itself. Also visible is the mutual tidal locking between the two bodies.
Size comparisons: Earth, the Moon, and Charon
The two conflicting theories about Charon's internal structure
Charon in enhanced color to bring out differences in surface composition, showing the so-called Mordor Macula at the top
Organa, the youngest crater of Charon.
Mosaic of best-resolution images of Charon from different angles

On June 22, 1978, he had been examining highly magnified images of Pluto on photographic plates taken with the telescope two months prior.

The Star-Spectroscope of the Lick Observatory in 1898. Designed by James Keeler and constructed by John Brashear.

Astronomical spectroscopy

Study of astronomy using the techniques of spectroscopy to measure the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, infrared and radio waves that radiate from stars and other celestial objects.

Study of astronomy using the techniques of spectroscopy to measure the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, ultraviolet, X-ray, infrared and radio waves that radiate from stars and other celestial objects.

The Star-Spectroscope of the Lick Observatory in 1898. Designed by James Keeler and constructed by John Brashear.
Opacity of the Earth's atmosphere for different wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. The atmosphere blocks some wavelengths but it is mostly transparent for visible light and a wide range of radio waves.
With a reflection grating, incident light is separated into several diffraction orders which separate different wavelengths apart (red and blue lines), excepting the 0-th order (black).
Black body curves for various temperatures.
Redshift and blueshift
Two stars of different size orbiting the center of mass. The spectrum can be seen to split depending on the position and velocity of the stars.
Optical spectrum of Comet Hyakutake.

Historically, photographic plates were widely used to record spectra until electronic detectors were developed, and today optical spectrographs most often employ charge-coupled devices (CCDs).

Illustration of the use of interferometry in the optical wavelength range to determine precise positions of stars. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Astrometry

Branch of astronomy that involves precise measurements of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies.

Branch of astronomy that involves precise measurements of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies.

Illustration of the use of interferometry in the optical wavelength range to determine precise positions of stars. Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Concept art for the TAU spacecraft, a 1980s era study which would have used an interstellar precursor probe to expand the baseline for calculating stellar parallax in support of Astrometry
Diagram showing how a smaller object (such as an extrasolar planet) orbiting a larger object (such as a star) could produce changes in position and velocity of the latter as they orbit their common center of mass (red cross).
Motion of barycenter of solar system relative to the Sun.

Astrographs using astronomical photographic plates sped the process in the early 20th century.

The Seal of the USNO with a quote from the Astronomica by Marcus Manilius, Adde gubernandi studium: Pervenit in astra, et pontum caelo conjunxit [Increase the study of navigation: It arrives in the stars, and marries the sea with heaven.]

United States Naval Observatory

Scientific and military facility that produces geopositioning, navigation and timekeeping data for the United States Navy and the United States Department of Defense.

Scientific and military facility that produces geopositioning, navigation and timekeeping data for the United States Navy and the United States Department of Defense.

The Seal of the USNO with a quote from the Astronomica by Marcus Manilius, Adde gubernandi studium: Pervenit in astra, et pontum caelo conjunxit [Increase the study of navigation: It arrives in the stars, and marries the sea with heaven.]
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The 26 inch (66 cm) aperture telescope, with which Asaph Hall discovered the moons of Mars in 1877; the telescope is shown here at its new location.
Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station
Number One Observatory Circle, official home of the U.S. vice president.
Atomic clock ensemble at the U.S. Naval Observatory
Navy Precision Optical Interferometer, Flagstaff, Arizona

Relying strongly on photographic methods, the naval observers returned 350 photographic plates in 1874, and 1,380 measurable plates in 1882.

The quark structure of the positively charged pion.

Pion

Any of three subatomic particles:, , and.

Any of three subatomic particles:, , and.

The quark structure of the positively charged pion.
An animation of the nuclear force (or residual strong force) interaction. The small colored double disks are gluons. For the choice of anticolors, see.
The same process as in the animation with the individual quark constituents shown, to illustrate how the fundamental strong interaction gives rise to the nuclear force. Straight lines are quarks, while multi-colored loops are gluons (the carriers of the fundamental force). Other gluons, which bind together the proton, neutron, and pion "in-flight", are not shown. The pion contains an anti-quark, shown to travel in the opposite direction, as per the Feynman–Stueckelberg interpretation.
Feynman diagram of the dominant leptonic pion decay.
Anomaly-induced neutral pion decay.

After development, the photographic plates were inspected under a microscope by a team of about a dozen women.