I hadn’t had time to make the announcement here yet, but it’s with great joy that I let you in on a project that has taken me a year to complete, and that I have developed to serve the Astrophotography community.
The labor of love I’m talking about is AstroBin, the first image hosting website entirely dedicated to astrophotographers, seeking to preserve the value inherent to the great scientific-grade output that this community has produced for so many years.
AstroBin was born out of the desire to end something I had seen for too long, something that I didn’t want to see: the waste of incredible material to the sea of chaos that the Internet can be. For years, I have seen fantastic astrophotographs being uploaded to Internet Forums, often with little or no data, or to general purpose image hosting site, invariably with no data attached.
Such an image would be seen by some people, then quickly forgotten, and reduced to nothing more than a bunch of pixel in the giant wasteland of the Internet.
I respected the Astrophotography community too much to allow this, so I decided to do something about it. AstroBin is the result: an effort to host, collect, index and categorize the output of the astrophotographers all over the world, so that their precious data would serve a purpose, and have a meaning forever.
So, let me tell you why you too should upload your astro-images to AstroBin, and contribute:
Unlimited uploads, unlimited size, for free
Astrophotography images have scientific value that shouldn’t be lost in file compression. On AstroBin you can (and should!) upload full size images. And you have unlimited space for free.
Your astro-images will be automatically organized in dynamic and intelligent albums: by subject type (nebulae, clusters, galaxies…), by year and by equipment used.
Dedication to data
On a general purpose image sharing site, you would upload your image and be done with it. AstroBin, instead, has a user interface specifically designed to enable you to input all the technical data of your image. AstroBin will autocomplete your input using a vast database: everything from telescopes, CCDs and filters to astronomical objects in many catalogues will show in popup dialogs for easy selection when you start typing their names. AstroBin is connected to the SIMBAD Astronomical Database, which contains over 5 million objects under over 15 million names!
Data is strongly interconnected
Have you ever wanted to see how your next image is going to look like? On AstroBin, you can search for all images of a certain target that were taken with a certain telescope and a certain CCD or camera. Or a certain filter. How about all the images between 6 and 8 hours of integration? Or with a certain Moon phase? You can do that!
All the data at a glance
Each image on AstroBin is annotated of all the technical details about its acquisition. Telescopes involved, cameras, mounts, filters, everything is visible at a glance in the Technical Card. Even the Moon age at the time of the acquisition is displayed.
More than just an image
AstroBin will do more than just host a copy of your image: when you upload a photograph, a histogram and a black & white inverted version of the image will be generated on the fly, so it’s easier to spot faint nebulosity regions or spiral arms. Images will also be plate solved, and an annotated version will appear on the site. AstroBin will know what are the astronomical objects in your image without you telling!
AstroBin supports multiple image revisions
Don’t tell me you have never gone back to revise the processing of an image after you had published it. AstroBin embraces this concept and lets you publish several revisions of the same image easily and intuitively! Now it’s going to be really easy to tell whether your processing has improved.
AstroBin is social!
On AstroBin you can message other astrophotographer, follow them and be notified when they post new images, or perform requests for more data. You can also vote on images.
Have your data neatly plotted
Data is everything, and AstroBin will give you the tools to keep your data neat and organized. And with our plots, you can get insights on your productivity and on the gear you use the most.
In conclusion, as you have undoubtly realized by now, AstroBin is way more than an image hosting service. It’s what the Astrophotography community has needed for a long time. Posting your astrophotographs on AstroBin not only means you gain a great place to store your work, a great way to keep your data consistent and organized and fantastic tool to accompany you in your hobby; it also means you are contributing something to the community, you are helping others know what to expect from their equipment, and you are keeping important data safe and organized.
If you are as convinced as I think you are, go ahead and sign up!