The digitized archive of the Arcetri spectroheliograms. Preliminary results from the analysis of Ca II K images
INAF - Osservatorio astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00040 Monte Porzio Catone, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 6 March 2009
Context. The increasing interest in the recovery of historic data and the availability of new hardware resources is leading to projects to digitize photographic archives of astronomical observations. In addition to preservation, solar archives are digitized because the observations stored in such archives have the potential of providing unique information about solar magnetism, which can improve knowledge about long-term solar changes.
Aims. The solar tower of the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory produced synoptic observations of the solar atmosphere from 1926 to 1974. The photographic archive contains about 13 000 plates of full-disk Ca II K and Hα spectroheliograms acquired during about 5000 observing days. The program for the digitization and distribution of the images of this archive was carried out at the Rome Astronomical Observatory and is now complete.
Methods. Nearly 13 000 plates were scanned with a commercial device and stored on DVD, as well as in a database accessible online. Image processing was developed for the reduction of the data and their photographic calibration.
Results. The obtained digital archive provides the astronomical community with the Arcetri historical solar observations and with measurements of solar features identified in such observations. As an example, we show some preliminary results concerning the temporal variability of facular regions identified in the time-series of Ca II K observations.
Conclusions. Existing programs studying solar activity and variability, as well as new scientific projects, will benefit from the Arcetri digital archive, since it extends the temporal baseline of digital full-disk solar observations, and it provides data for the inter-calibration of results obtained from measurements performed in similar observations.
Key words: Sun: chromosphere / Sun: faculae, plages / Sun: activity / techniques: image processing / astronomical data bases: miscellaneous
© ESO, 2009