Welcome to the APPLAUSE archives

Example of a photographic plate

Example of a photographic plate. More sample images can be found in the image gallery.

German astronomical observatories own considerable collection of photographic plates. While these observations lead to significant discoveries in the past, they are also of interest for scientists today and in the future. In particular, for the study of long-term variability of many types of stars, these measurements are of immense scientific value.

There are about 85000 plates in the archives of Hamburger Sternwarte, Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte Bamberg, and Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP). The plates are digitized with high-resolution flatbed scanners. In addition, the corresponding plate envelopes and observation logbooks are digitized, and further metadata are entered into the database. The work is carried out within the project “Digitalisierung astronomischer Fotoplatten und ihre Integration in das internationale Virtual Observatory”, which is funded by the DFG.

On this site, you can get access to the plate data that are processed so far. Please use the registration form to get a user account. Then you can submit SQL queries or fill search forms using the query interface. Without signing in, the query interface can be used as a guest user.

Also, as a result of the AstroPlate Meeting 2014 in Prague, the Astroplate Wiki has been started to share the relevant knowledge. Everyone is welcome to take part in it.

Recent News

  • February 29th, 2016

    APPLAUSE Data Release 2 published

    Data Release 2 (DR2) was published on February 29, 2016. It contains data from the Bamberg, Hamburg, Potsdam, and Tartu plate collections. DR2 contains 51517 scans of 42789 plates. All material of the former data release is included in the 58115 digital images of plate covers and logbook pages, 149 logbooks. With 2.59 billion extracted sources this data release extends the former catalogs by nearly a billion sources. The lightcurve table of DR2 is calibrated and provides additional photometric information for astronomical work with the data. The total size of the published files is 30 TB.

  • April 24th, 2015

    APPLAUSE Data Release 1 published

    The APPLAUSE Data Release 1 (DR1) contains digitized phtographic plates from the Bamberg, Hamburg and Potsdam observatories. Over 25 thousand plate scans and a catalogue of over 1.6 billion extracted sources are available to the astronomy community and to the public. The oldest published plates date back to 1909 and the newest are from 1976. The majority of plate scans include astrometric solutions, making it possible to match the historic observations with contemporary object catalogues.

  • September 18th, 2014

    APPLAUSE database updated

    The APPLAUSE database received a major update this month: the underlying structure was renewed and a large batch of data was added. Currently the database contains metadata of 19017 plates and over 127 million extracted sources from 4887 scans.

  • September 21st, 2013

    Plate Archive presented at the annual AG meeting

    The Plate Archive and the digitization project will be presented in two talks at the Annual Meeting of Astronomische Gesellschaft:

    • Taavi Tuvikene – High-mass stars in the digital archive of photographic plates (Splinter meeting D, September 24)
    • Heinz Edelmann – The Bamberg photographic plate archive – the digitization project (Splinter meeting A, September 24)

  • September 19th, 2013

    Plate Archive launched!

    The Plate Archive has been launched with a small set of data for demonstration purposes. As of September 18, 2013, there are 2399 plates inserted from the Potsdam Zeiss Triplet and Hamburg Large Schmidt Telescope collections. The source catalogue includes data from the Cygnus OB2 association and its surroundings. More will come in the months ahead!