Image-Page Sample
North Atlas page sample

Back River Observatory News

The new BRO database and imagebase are complete.
Latest updates to the Database 02/01/16, the ReadMe 07/01/15, an Image folder 07/31/15 (M39).
BROdBaseN-Lite is an independent PDF incorporating a lightened up version of the entire project.
Download these files (about 1.6GB plus 490MB for dBaseN-Lite) from my Dropbox via this link:
Dropbox link to BRO data-imagebase
If the link needs updating before I notice, just email me for a new link to the free files.
Email to request the link to the file sharing website.
At the Dropbox site you may inspect and download folders and files, but the simplest download is to be at the highest level (nothing selected) and choose download, zipped. EXCEPT, in the case of this 1.6GB download, we presently get a message that a single transfer is too big for one gulp. You can get a free Dropbox folder from by signing up to create a new account, then copy everything at once to it. OR simply take a moment to queue up each folder to download as zips in a series, i.e.: select a folder, download it, hit previous view, select next folder, etc.

This project and the Atlases below are free, I simply ask that their use be accorded standard acknowledgement etiquette. Suggestions or feedback is welcome!

Deep Space CCD Atlases North & South 

The Atlases are available for free downloading and distribution.
To download the Atlas files (about 780MB) from my Dropbox follow this link:
Dropbox link to Deep Space CCD Atlases North and South
Again, if the link goes down before I notice, please request a new one to the free files by email.
Atlas files can all be downloaded at once. I suggest maintaining download file organization so internal links remain intact.
For a sample image page from the Atlases click on Image-Page Sample link at left.

Project Evolution

I started out to satisfy curiosity, to assemble or "collect" within my limits then ponder the results. I sought a selective compendium of entries that are optically accessible, arranged as they flow across our sky view. I found a continuous spectrum, an Adamsonian wholesortofgeneralmishmash of impossibly isolated menageries "delightful to tastes both subtle and gross."
North Atlas emerged in late 1992. With much generous help we refined and developed that collection. Friend and coauthor Alex Wassilieff made The South Atlas possible in 1994, its Addendum of even deeper imagery came a year later.
I printed the continually refined books "on-demand." As tech developed, so did the Atlases. We built up the sense of physical reality of assembled objects with a multitude of image, chart and data perspectives. At lower left are thumbnails (for M104) of the three types of charts available.
In 1998 everything converted to interlinked PDFs. Software! In 2003 I rebuilt the works and continued with updates until, in 2013, the Atlases seeded into the public domain.

Then, in mid-2013 work began on a new project. Not another atlas in book form, The BRO database expands on the original Atlases, it is a free-flowing dataset describing a corresponding set of some 3000 target fields. Individual fields range in size from a few arc minutes to about 10 degrees, and they are in color! Color derives largely from POSSII blue, infra-red, and red plates. The color is best described as representative: blue is blue, infra-red represents the red channel, while red fills the green color channel. The sample download below of the ReadMe file tells the story.
I hope you find the BRO data-imagebases enhance your understanding of the deep sky and your experience at the scope. And please, if you have feedback or find an error, pass it along!

Sample Downloads

 BRO Database ReadMe 669K PDF download , revision 07/01/15
 Combined North and South Atlas Index 64K PDF download

A Few Recommended Websites

Palomar Schmidt Digitized Sky Survey (Image databases)
Space Telescope Science Institute Resources (Space Telescope images, news)
The NGC-IC Project (NGC-IC catalog controversies, links, databases, images)
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (Comprehensive resources)
Adventures in Deep Space (Challenging observing projects, observations)
The Webb Deep-Sky Society (Publications, astro sections, events)
Clear Skies Observing Guides (Astro guides, planners, tours, downloads)


Cross-Training-for-the-Brain Project

Topic is another research subject and long-term preoccupation: enhancement of practical problem-solving abilities... the "forcing" of creativity.
For information on Cross-Training the Brain, click on the Cross-Training the Brain banner link above.
In early 2013 I reworked and updated this fun way to self-challenge and improve.

John C. Vickers
P.O.B. 1292, Duxbury, MA 02331 USA
Reach me by Email: