American Astronomical Society | Center for Astrophysics | Zooniverse | 2017 Mar 22
A new citizen-science project will rescue tens of thousands of potentially valuable cosmic images that are mostly dead to science and bring them fully back to life. Called Astronomy Rewind, the effort, which launches today (22 March 2017), will take photographs, radio maps, and other telescopic images that have been scanned from the pages of dusty old journals and place them in context in digital sky atlases and catalogs. Anyone will then be able to find them online and compare them with modern electronic data from ground- and space-based telescopes, making possible new studies of short- and long-term changes in the heavens. ...At left is a photograph of the Orion Nebula from page 396 of the June 1905
Astrophysical Journal -- without coordinate labels to fix its celestial position
and orientation. Astrometry.net was able to recognize the star pattern, after
which the image was rotated more than 180° to put north up and placed
in context on the sky in WorldWide Telescope.
(Credits: AAS, NASA/SAO ADS, & WorldWide Telescope)
Astronomy Rewind is the latest citizen-science program on the Zooniverse platform, which debuted at Oxford University a decade ago with Galaxy Zoo and now hosts more than 50 active “people-powered” projects across a variety of scientific disciplines. After going through a short exercise to learn what they’re looking for, users will view scanned pages from the journals of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) dating from the 19th century to the mid-1990s, when the Society began publishing electronically. Volunteers’ first task will be to determine what types of images the pages contain: photos of celestial objects with (or without) sky coordinates? maps of planetary surfaces with (or without) grids of latitude and longitude? graphs or other types of diagrams?
The images of most interest are ones whose scale, orientation, and sky position can be nailed down by some combination of labels on or around the images plus details provided in the text or captions. Pictures that lack such information but clearly show recognizable stars, galaxies, or other celestial objects will be sent to Astrometry.net, an automated online service that compares astrophotos to star catalogs to determine what areas of sky they show. ...
Now You Can Raise Zombie Astrophotos
AAS Publishing News | 2017 Mar 22