On the nature of apparent transient sources on the National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Survey glass copy plates

Nigel Hambly*, Adam Blair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We examine critically recent claims for the presence of above-atmosphere optical transients in publicly-available digitised scans of Schmidt telescope photographic plate material derived from the National Geographic Society-Palomar Observatory Sky Survey. We employ the publicly available SuperCOSMOS Sky Survey catalogues to examine statistically the morphology of the sources. We develop a simple, objective and automated image classification scheme based on a random forest decision tree classifier. We find that the putative transients are likely to be spurious artefacts of the photographic emulsion. We suggest a possible cause of the appearance of these images as resulting from the copying procedure employed to disseminate glass copy survey atlas sets in the era before large-scale digitisation programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
Journal RAS Techniques and Instruments
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Instrumentation
  • photography
  • digitisation
  • image classification
  • machine learning

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