Archiving of Astronomical Observations

The Astronomical Society’s Archiving Sub-Committee has been meeting, physically and virtually, during the past year so as to decide on the way forward with respect to the archiving of our members’ observations. Observations can take various forms and the task of the archiving sub-committee has been that of devising a standard format for all types of observations.

The aim of this initiative is such that all observations can be stored and retrieved easily in the future. Periodically, batches of observations will be archived at the National Archives in Rabat. This procedure entails a small input from all of you when submitting your observations, photos or sketches.

We need to ensure two things (i) that all pertinent information (such as date, instrument type etc.) is shown on the observation annotations and (ii) that the file itself is given a suitable name in line with our guidelines (attached). The sub-committee members will be checking each submission made to correct where necessary and give advice.

The archiving sub-committee may be contacted via our email address/contact form available on the ‘Contact us’ page of this website.

Protocol for submitting observations to the archive records of the Astronomical Society of Malta:

1. Ensure content is coherent with what you intend to send.

2. Rename the file according to the Identification Key supplied.

3. Open the link that directs the user to the shared folder online. This link would be sent through email to observers that have requested to contribute to the Maltastro Archive of Observations.

4. Upload files to the folder that bears your name.

5. Once uploaded, files will be scrutinized by a member of the archive committee. This step is to ensure that the correct identification key has been entered. It is the responsibility of the observer to ensure that the contents of the observations are correct and accurate with the all the details that will permit a scientific record.

6. On a biannual basis images will be moved from this file onto another hard drive for eventual submission to the National Archives. Prior to submission, members of the Archive Committee will inspect the observations by leaving a star next to the observations uploaded. This means that the observations have been inspected for their correct file format and that they are ready to transferred to the archive repository.

Format of observations:

Observers are encouraged to upload their files in a format compatible with the filing process of the observation concerned. Visual sketches should be saved and uploaded in PDF format while other observations in text form could be uploaded in plain text format. The preferred format for images is FITS as these images contain a tag with the relevant details. However, it is not always possible to export these files in this format as not all users have access to software that transform native DSLR images into FITS files. Such files can be uploaded in either TIFF, BMP or RAW files (according to make of DSLR) JPEG files should be avoided as compression degrades the avoided whenever possible as compression might deteriorate the quality and information embedded in the images.

It is important that such files have text superimposed on the image that show the relevant and necessary details required. For further information, please download this short PowerPoint presentation (below).

Disclaimer: The Astronomical Society of Malta is not responsible for the contents and accuracy of the contents of the observations/images within this archive. It is the responsibility of the observer to ensure that the contents of their observations are correct and accurate and contain the all the details necessary to qualify as a scientific record.