List of astronomical photographic plate archives
Note: currently the present list is based entirely on the Catalogue of the WFPA.
Astronomical Observatory of Córdoba Félix Aguilar Observatory
Australian Astronomical Observatory Melbourne Observatory Perth Observatory Sydney Observatory
Leopold Figl Observatory Vienna Observatory Kanzelhöhe Observatory for Solar and Environmental Research
Royal Observatory of Belgium
Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
500 direct + 126,000 spectra
University of Toronto Astronomy Department
11,000 direct + 62,000 spectra
Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory
Shanghai Astronomical Observatory
The estimated total number of direct plates is 4000, of which about 2300 have been digitized. The digitized plates are 9x12 cm, scanned with 1600 dpi and 16 bit per pixel. Most of the digitized plates are from 1950-1987, observed objects are asteroids, comets and variable stars.
Among the not-digitized direct plates are older plates, observations of solar eclipses, and other exotic material. These plates are also not catalogued, but are easily accessible.
There are about 2500 spectral plates (slit spectra) from 1976-1994. About 500 of these plates have been digitized.
Helsingfors Observatory Tuorla Observatory
Paris Toulouse Bordeaux
Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte Bamberg
Most of the Bamberg plates are from projects to search for variable stars.
The most interesting project is most likely the one initiated in the early 1960s by the former director of the Remeis observatory, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Strohmeier. He launched the Bamberg Southern Photographic Patrol Survey (BSPPS, Strohmeier W., 1963, "The Bamberg Search for Bright Variable Stars", Sky and Telescope, Vol. 26, p. 264) at the southern Remeis observatory's outpost located at Boyden, South Africa. Also plates were taken for this project by the Mount John University at the Lake Tekapo observatory, New Zealand, and at the La Plata Astronomical Observatory in Argentina.
On every clear night almost the complete sky was observed, using 22 identical Kodak wide field cameras (d=10cm), in order to get time series of the observed fields.
The project lasted until 1976. In total more than 22,000 photographic plates were taken.
From a scientist's point of view, this project is especially interesting: the Harvard sky patrols in South Africa were stopped in the late 1950s early 1960s, the European Southern observatory did not start their observations before 1966, and also no other sky patrols for the southern hemisphere have been performed at other stations by this time. Therefore, all southern data from this time are solely from the BSPPS.
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP)
Jena University Observatory
Direct images (82%), low-resolution spectra and images for technical purpose (14%) on 1257 wide-field plates of 16x16 cm size obtained in the period from February 1963 to December 1982 with a 60/90/180-cm Schmidt telescope at Großschwabhausen 10 km west of Jena.
Digitized are 1159 available plates (98 plates are missing) in both low (1200 dpi) and high (2400 dpi) resolution as JPEG and FITS accordingly with an Epson Perfection V700 flatbed scanner and Scanfits software, the logbooks and metadata of all 1257 plates (in WFPDB format). FITS headers were created by the FTOOLS software. The archive includes astrometric solution done by the IDL astro library for all plates with the plate scale 1.213±0.0011"/px in RA and 1.209±0.00079"/px in Dec.
Metadata, the logbook and plate previews are available online in the WFPDB searchable by the observatory and telescope identifier JEN060. The FITS are not available online as of 10-Feb-2020. The original scan data comprises ~1.7 TB. Contact person for the archive is Valeri Hambaryan at the Astrophysical Institute of the Jena University.
Based on: Poghosyan, A.V. et al. Wide-Field Plate Archive of the University Observatory Jena (2014).
Hamburg Observatory Sonneberg Observatory Heidelberg-Königstuhl Observatory
Observatory of Turin Asiago Astrophysical Observatory Loiano Observatory Rome Observatory Catania Astrophysical Observatory
Baldone Astrophysical Observatory
Tacubaya Observatory Tonantzintla Observatory
Mount John University Observatory
Astronomical Observatory of the Jagiellonian University Poznań Observatory Toruń Centre for Astronomy
Bucharest Observatory Cluj-Napoca Observatory
Engelhard Astronomical Observatory (EAO) of the Kazan Federal University
Skalnaté Pleso Observatory
Kvistaberg Observatory Stockholm Observatory Uppsala Astronomical Observatory
Astronomical Observatory of Kyiv National University Main Astronomical Observatory Astronomical Observatory of Lviv National University Nikolaev Astronomical Observatory
115,000 direct + 18,000 spectra
150,000 direct + 150,000 spectra (includes Mt. Wilson plates)
Harvard College Observatory
565,000 direct and objective prism plates + 100 slit spectra
Kitt Peak National Observatory
12,000 direct + 10,000 spectra
Most of the McDonald Observatory plates from its founding about 1939 until the end of its association with Yerkes Observatory in the mid-1960s are archive at the Yerk
47,000 direct + 126,000 spectra es Observatory.
57,500 direct + 4000 spectra
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
200,000 direct + 20,000 spectra
Van Vleck Observatory
Yale University Astronomy Department
70,000 direct + 84,000 spectra. The Yerkes plate archive includes plates from McDonald Observatory, the University of Illinois Observatory and Dearborn Observatory.
Maidanak Astronomical Observatory
Llano del Hato National Astronomical Observatory
Although now a little out of data, a starting place for astronomical plate archives in North America is in Osborn and Robbins: Preserving Astronomy's Photographic Legacy, ASP Conference Series, Vol 410, 2009. The article beginning on page 83 and the Appendix C in this volume give relevant information. Both articles are available through the ADS service: