Jan. 26th, 2012

steorra: Jupiter's moon Europa (europa)
[personal profile] steorra
New Star Discoveries Found in Antique Telescope Plates

Over a hundred years' worth of photographic plates of astronomical photographs from the Harvard College Observatory are being digitized, and the digital images are being analyzed. This long timespan of data has allowed the discovery of several kinds of long-period variable stars, which vary in brightness on timespans of decades. The discovery is still fairly new, so the mechanisms behind many of the variables are still unexplained, but there are hypotheses about some of them. Only 4% of the glass plates have been digitized yet, so there are surely more discoveries still to be made.

I liked this quote from one of the researchers:
"Astronomy is driven by observation. If you have unique data, you will make unique discoveries, there's no doubt about that."

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