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Meeting Archival Standards in the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive at PARI J.D. Cline, M.W. Castelaz, T.H. Barker, L. Rottler Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute 221 st American Astronomical Society Meeting. Wednesday January 9, 2013. Session 340.02.

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Meeting Archival Standards in the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive at PARI

J.D. Cline, M.W. Castelaz, T.H. Barker, L. RottlerPisgah Astronomical Research Institute221st American Astronomical Society Meeting. Wednesday January 9, 2013. Session 340.02

Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)‏

Not-for-profit public foundation



APDA Research Tools

Meeting Facility Standards for Archiving Astronomical Photographic Images

  • Barry Lasker Scanning Lab
    • New GAMMA II computer, hardware, and software controls the X and Y servo motors; reads X and Y positions of the plate-stage using a laser interferometer with 0.1 μm resolution.
    • Plate density measured from the output of a PMT through a 15-bit A/D converter.

Diffuse Interstellar Bands – Digitized Survey & Identification

  • Climate control.
    • New HVAC systems installed in 2012.
    • Temperature controlled to 21C +/- 1 C.
    • Humidity controlled to 40% +/- 5%.
  • Electrical power service.
    • Stable line conditioning using dedicated UPS for computer systems and research instruments.
    • Research Building electrical backup systems:
      • 500KW UPS.
      • 500KW diesel backup generator.
  • Seismically stable area in western NC with probability of 0.00 for an earthquake >6.0 within 50 years and within 50Km radius as computed using Seismic Hazard Mapping Project.
  • Not in a high-risk flood zone at an elevation of 914-meters.
  • Research Building characteristics:
    • Concrete steel-reinforced walls and flooring.
    • Solid granite foundation.
  • Secure site facility with single gated vehicle entrance.

The 200 acre PARI campus, looking west from the 26-m East radio telescope

Astronomical Photographic Data Archive (APDA)‏

  • APDA is dedicated to the collection, restoration, preservation and storage of astronomical photographic data.
  • APDA is tasked with digitizing and establishing a digital image database accessible by the astronomical community via the Internet.
  • APDA is essential both for the health of astronomical science and for credibility of the current generation of astronomers as guardians of its unique heritage.
  • Photographic collections in APDA are used by professional astronomers, college students, PARI interns, primary and secondary school students, STEM educational and home-school student programs, and citizen science projects.
  • Located in the PARI Research Building.

Using the new GAMMA II scanner-control system, we obtained digitized images of the field containing NGC 2207, IC2163 and SN 1975a, found on plate #1466 taken on 01/19/1975 with the 4-m telescope at KPNO.

SN 1975a

4mm x 4mm area digitized using 10-μm pixels.

10 mm x 10mm area digitized

using 50-μm pixels.

  • The main APDA storage room is shown to the left.
  • Over 200,000 photographs in more than 40 collections are in the APDA library.
  • Data storage capacity of 400-terabytes donated by EMC Corporation in use in the Research Building.
  • Gigabyte Internet and LAN connectivity.
  • Dell 690 Quad-Xenon processor with 16GB RAM.
  • Light tables, binocular microscopes, binocular microscope with integrated USB digital camera and variable intensity LED light sources.
  • MicroTek transparency scanner for coarse plate scanning.

20,000 sq. ft. two story PARI Research Building recently renovated with support from the NSF – Award AST-0963300. Houses the Radio Frequency Laboratory, APDA, the Aeronomy Program Center, and lab space for short-term projects conducted by PARI Research Faculty Affiliates.