Congratulations, you've clearly found your way to the Deep Sky Archive - largest online collection of observations in the Internet! Building of this website started out as it became apparent that the Deep Sky section of the Helsinki, Finland based Astromical Association Ursa was receiving more observations through email than regular mail. It was suggested that the burden of typing in the observation data and archiving the files would be taken off the shoulders of administration and put straight to the observer. It was thought that best way of doing this would be to create website that would allow user to type in all the data and upload his or her observations straight to server the same time. Project started in the beginning of year 2003 and site was officially opened 29.1.2003.

Who can use the site?
Anybody can use the site. It's meant to be centralized way of submitting sketches for all the observers of the world. All you need to do is to fill in a registration form (you find link in the front page) and wait until the administrator accepts you as user. You will then get email with your initial password, that you can change at the site once you're logged in. There's basically four different kinds of users. Here's short introduction what different types of users can do at the Deep Sky Archive:

    Level 0 (Normal user)
    Normal user can search the database and examine the observations and, of course, register to get more access.

    Level 1 (Commentator)
    Commentator can do everything that Normal user can plus leave commentate the pictures and take part in ongoing discussions in the forum. (discussions and commenting not implemented yet, so practically this level is futile atm :)

    Level 5 (Uploader)
    Uploader can, as the name itself suggests, upload observations to the database. He can naturally do everything that level 0 and 1 users can too.

    Level 10 (Administrator)
    Administrator takes care of daily routines of the site. He can add / delete users and grant access to users after they've filled the registration form plus do everything other users can.

Searching the database
Objects can be searched from the dabase in search-screen. There's several different criteria that user can type in. If more than one fields are filled the search engine will look for observations that match all the given criteria. Therefore if you want to search for observation of Messier 110 done by Jaakko Saloranta you would type in "110" in the designation field and "Jaakko" in the observer field. As you may notice also the partial name is enough, engine will match every record containing Jaakko in the observer field, no matter what there may be. Thus, searching for "Jaakko" in the observer rield would find also observations done by "Jaakko Mattila", "Jaakko Joukahainen", "Jarkko Jaakkola" etc. Note: Observations added field can be used to limit search results in time. You can select "Today" to find all the observations added within last 24 hours.

Once you've typed in the criteria for your search click search button and the engine will return all the matching records below the form. The list will show you some crucial data but to examine observation closer click the object name and you'll be presented with pop up window containing all the data.

Object popup
Object popup contains all the data about the object there is in the database. If there's empty fields or fields containing -1 it means user has not given the data in question when observation was submitted. Here's list of the data that popup contains.

This is the designation of the object.

Person, who's done the observation.

Site, where the observation was done. Normal way is to tell the precise location, then city / county and finally country. For example: Leppahammas, Orivesi, Finland.

Instrument used to do this observation. First there's type of the instrument then diameter of the objective followed by slash and focal length in millimeters.

Magnification used to make the observation.

If filter was used while doing this observation it's type is noted here.

Field of the view in the observation. Given in minutes of arc (ie. 90 means 1.5 degrees etc).

A measurement of the sky quality provided by Sky Quality Meter. Use two digits and leave empty if no measurement is available.

Background sky brightness during the observation. Scale is 1-5 where 1 is the best and 5 the worst. This is close relative to transparency but not exactly the same.

Seeing during the observation. Scale is 1-5 where 1 is the best and 5 the worst. This describes mainly the calmness of the atmosphere.

This describes how easy object was to observe. Scale is 1-5 where 1 is the easiest (M45) and 5 the most difficult (Sharpless 147). You can also use equal, less than or greater than operator by selecting it from pull down menu next to Visuality field. This means that if, for example, you type 3 to Visuality field and select ">" from pull down menu and click Search, you will only get records with visuality marked 4 or 5 (ie. object has been very faint).

The height of the object during observation in degrees. 90 if it was in the zenith and 0 if it was in the horizon.

Description of the weather during the observation.

The description of the object and surroundings.

Date of the observation presented as two days between which it was done. This should be given in european style, ie 16/17.7.2003 22:30 (that would be the night between 16th and 17th of July 2003 10.30pm).

Added by
Username of the person who added this observation to the database. It's possible to add observations done by others so here you can see who's responsible.

Date when the observation was added to the database. Some observations may be added years after they were done. This is presented in european style hh:mm.

When "exact" checkbox is ticked only records matching criteria exactly will be returned. This means that when you type, for example, Messier 1 in designation field and tick "exact" and click Search you will only get sketches of Messier 1, not Messier 11 or Messier 110.