Exhibition displays rare file photos of astronomy

An old astronomical photographs exhibition, entitled Gazing at the Stars, was unveiled at Shanghai Astronomy Museum recently, featuring 48 photographs picked out of nearly 30,000 pictures taken from 1902 to 1998.

All those photographs come from observatories across China and now have become precious documents. Due to technological difficulties, only a small percentage of them were able to be utilized in the past.

Shanghai Astronomy Museum set up a world-class digitalization team five years ago to tackle the problem, and finished the digitalization of about 30,000 file photographs over the years.

The photos at the exhibition show objects such as asteroids, comets, binary stars, variable stars, supernovas, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. Among them, there are some rare photos, such as the one that caught the comet collision with Jupiter in July 1994.

Tang Haiming, one of the organizers, said the digitalization of the old photographs is a continuing process and also a dream coming true for many generations of astronomers and astronomical enthusiasts. The stories behind these photos are often more interesting and precious than the photos themselves, he added.