A Trip Back in Time and Space

This is the cover article in the science section of New York Times (July 10, 2007) and talks about Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard.

*Click the link to see the article. You may need to sign-up for an access but it’s free.

  1. vlk:

    “Bad Astronomer” Phil Plait has a nice writeup on what these plates are and why they are important: http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/07/12/irreplaceable-astronomy/

    But digitizing the plates is only the first step. What is of real interest are the measurements that we can make from them of the intrinsic intensity and the locations of each source. Each plate will have to be separately calibrated, with both spatial distortions (which can occur due to physical warping or atmospheric corrections) and intensity scaling (translating the observed signal to physical units such as ergs/s/cm2) accounted for in a homogeneous and cohesive manner. Not an easy problem; one essentially has to bootstrap from plate to plate.

    07-13-2007, 11:06 am
  2. hlee:

    Were these plates used at Harvard College Observatory Computer Lab around the turn of the 20th century? I learned that findings by the female computers (there was no machine called as a computer at that time) led to important astrophysical discoveries in the early 20th century, like Hubble’s expanding universe based upon regression analysis. The intention of posting the New York times article was to point out that the tradition of astrostatistics can go back further according to these historic relics in terms of data analysis, when statistics is defined as the science of data.

    07-13-2007, 8:26 pm
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