The Plate Library at ROE has been designed for two purposes; as an archive for the 19000 original glass plates and films taken with the UKST and as a suitable place in which astronomers can use this unique collection. On receipt of an approved application most plates stored in the Library are available for loan, consultation or machine measurement to users around the world. An air-conditioned environment provides both suitable archival conditions and a comfortable working area. The Library also contains copies of all the major sky atlases made from plates taken with the UKST and other Schmidt telescopes (see below).
The visiting astronomer can inspect the photographs using high powered microscopes and light tables, use an XY measuring machine or take images of small areas using a CCD camera. The fast automatic measuring machine, SuperCOSMOS, is close by.
Sky Atlases held in the ROE Plate Library: Atlas Sky Coverage Colour Number Medium of fields POSS-I Dec >= -30 B & R 936 Glass & paper POSS-I Dec = -42, -36 R Paper Whiteoak extension POSS-I(I) Dec > 0 & |b| < 10 I & R Paper ESO B Dec -90 to -20 B 606 Film & Glass SERC J * Dec -90 to -20 Bj 606 Film & Glass ESO R Dec -90 to -20 R 606 Film & Glass SERC I/SR * Dec <= 0 & |b| < 10 R & I 163 Film SERC EJ/ER * Dec -15 to 0 Bj & R 288 Film & Glass POSS-II Dec >= 0 Bj 894 Film & Glass POSS-II Dec >= 0 R 894 Film & Glass POSS-II Dec >= 0 I 894 Film* - original exposures taken with the UKST for all the surveys and atlases are stored in the Plate Library.
The matching red plates (6300-6900A) were taken with the ESO 1m Schmidt Telescope in Chile. Film and glass sets of the ESO/SERC Southern Sky Atlas have been made at the ESO Sky Atlas Laboratories at Garching, Munich; a few sets of the film atlas are still available for purchase.
A second epoch survey of the 606 fields of the ESO/SERC Southern Sky Atlas commenced in 1985 and was completed in 1999. This survey was carried out on IIIa-F emulsion through an OG590 filter giving a wavelength coverage of 5900-6900A. The plates are sky limited with a limiting magnitude of R=21.5; the mean epoch difference is 15 years from the Bj originals of the ESO/SERC Atlas.
This survey is the northerly extension of the ESO/SERC Southern Sky Survey. It consists of sky limited exposures on 288 fields in blue (EJ) and red (ER) with plate centres 20 min (5 degrees) apart in RA on declination zones -15, -10, -5 and 0. It covers the area of sky between the ESO/SERC Atlas and the second Palomar Observatory Survey in the north. The EJ exposures were made between 1979 and 1994 and the ER between 1984 and 1998.
The atlases were made at the ROE Photolabs.
Seven glass sets of the EJ atlas were made, these copies are in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and the UK. Five glass sets of the ER atlas were made. Copies are in the UK, France, Germany and USA.
The UKST has taken pairs of plates on the 151 fields with dec < 0 and |b| < 10 plus 12 fields around the Magellanic clouds. The exposures have been deep I-plates (IV-N emulsion + RG715 filter) and matching short exposure red plates (IIIa-F emulsion + RG630 filter); the limiting magnitude is about I=19. The plates were taken between 1978 and 1985.
The survey was reproduced on film and distributed to over 70 institutions.
H-alpha filter and survey: In 1997 a new (single element) H-alpha filter was purchased. Mounted on a full size (356mm) substrate this new filter, HA659, has a clear aperture of approximately 300mm diameter (5 degrees). This filter combined with the very fine grain 4415 emulsion was used to carry out a survey of the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds in H-alpha. Matching short-exposure red exposures (4415 + OG590) were also taken. The survey consists of 233 fields on 4 degree centres in the Milky Way plus 40 fields in the Magellanic Clouds. More details (written in Oct 2000) on the filter and survey can be found here .
The area covered consists of 4 fields of the SMC (fields 28, 29, 50 ,51) and 8 of the LMC (fields 32, 33, 55-57, 84-86). The following film sets are available: U, V, R, "SR", I. The I and SR sets are copies from the SERC I/SR Atlas. The R set is from sky-limited IIIa-F plates.
Requests for further information should be addressed to:
UKSTU Royal Observatory Blackford Hill Edinburgh EH9 3HJ e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Scotland tel: 0131 668 8330
POSS-I - glass and paper (blue and red)
POSS-II - glass (B and R), film (B, R, I)
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Edited Nov 2010