Inspecting Scribbles and Stars
Alison Doane, Curator of Astronomical Photographs at the Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard project, inspects markings on a telescope negative. After capturing a photographic plate, researchers would annotate discoveries or stars of interest, but these historical scribbles must be removed before the plate can be digitally scanned. Marker dots might show up as false stars in the scanned image, interfering with the data.
Doane is using a magnifying loupe just as the original plate examiners would. Women hired by Harvard — called "computers" because they would compute stellar magnitudes — would spend long hours hunched over light tables like this one, measuring star diameters to determine their brightness levels.