The Cosmos Captured on Glass

In the basement of the Observatories’ Santa Barbara Street office is the Plate Vault, home to the second largest collection of astronomical glass plates in the United States. The plate collection consists of over 200,000 glass plate negatives, including spectra, direct object images, and solar plates. These glass plates date from between 1892 and 1994 were created using telescopes at the Kenwood, Mount Wilson, Palomar, and Las Campanas Observatories. 

One of our most notable plates, Hubble's Famous M31 VAR! Plate now has its own dedicated page on our site.

Plates in the Sandage collection

Use the Plate Archives Search Tool (PAST)

Search within over 200,000 astronomical glass plates from the Carnegie Plate Archives. 

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Plate Searches and Inquiries

Moon globe in the Observatories library

Visit the Hale Library

The Hale Library at the Santa Barbara Street office in Pasadena consists of a large astronomy and physics-related collection used to support the ongoing research at the Observatories

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Archival materials

Explore Carnegie's Archives

Carnegie has extensive physical and digital materials documenting our institutional history. Learn about our archival resources or conduct research on our documentary heritage.

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