How to Explore

StarGlass allows you to search the Harvard Plate Stacks collection for glass plate negatives by the date they were made, the astronomical objects they captured, the historic Women Astronomical Computers that used them, and much more.

Try searching for your favorite constellation, or use the advanced search to find plates studied by Williamina Fleming, or taken by the Harvard Observatory in the 1890s!

About Starglass

StarGlass is a new web application letting you explore the Harvard Plate Stacks collection at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. The collection is the world’s largest single holding of historical images of stars, galaxies, and space, consisting of over 600,000 glass plates taken worldwide from the 1880s through the 1980s. Over 410,000 direct image plates have been digitized and made accessible here through the DASCH scanning project. These plates combine to form humanity’s first systematic survey of the entire night sky.

Central to this collection are the individual and collective legacies of over 146 Women Astronomical Computers who created, studied, and stewarded the plates that we hold. For the first time, StarGlass connects the plates to over 2,500 individual notebooks created over a century by these pioneering Women scientists. Through Project PHaEDRA, thousands of volunteers are transcribing these important handwritten documents to make them digitally accessible. If you are interested in helping, visit the Project PHaEDRA site.

API Access

Over 1.2 petabytes of information gathered from our collection are available via an API. Please see the method level documentation here or view the general documentation here (currently under construction). If you would like to discuss how we can collaborate on large scale research work, please reach out to our team at


Starglass is currently in Beta mode. Please let us know any issues you identify or features you'd like to see by filling out our feedback form.