The Astronomy Legacy Project, supported by the nonprofit Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)has opened an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $60,000 to finance their program of digitizing stellar photographic films and plates:

Before the invention of digital cameras in the 1990′s, and for more than 120 years before that, astronomers put in several million telescope hours photographing the night sky – measuring star brightnesses, detecting comets, planets, nebulae, mapping our Galaxy, and building the foundations of our understanding of our Universe!  All of this raw beauty, and secrets yet to be discovered, are held as largely unexplored photographic images on thin, fragile pieces of glass.  Imagine digitizing these hundreds of thousands of photographic images with such high precision that the images appearing on your screen replicates the original. This digitization process is the heart of the Astronomy Legacy Project.

The Astronomy Legacy Project (ALP) will digitize the extensive and diverse set of twentieth century analog (photographic) astronomical data housed at the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive and make it available to the twenty-first century digital world.  Funding will help us to purchase the OPTEK 463 VSM, a highly precise scanning machine that we have chosen to do the digitizing. A staff member will receive 10% of the funding who is responsible for administration of the scanning process with volunteers.

Your donation will honor and preserve the legacy of generations of astronomers and inspire the next generation of space science enthusiasts and people everywhere who are inspired by the mystery and beauty of the night sky!

Exploration. Discovery. Inspiration. from Michael Castelaz, Ph.D. on Vimeo.