Image-Page Sample
North Atlas page sample

Back River Observatory News

The roughly 1.6GB BRO Database and Imagebase is complete and available for viewing or downloading.
BROdBaseNorth-Lite is an independent PDF comprising a light version (about 490MB) of the entire project.
Download files from my FULLY SECURE Dropbox site via the link below. NO information is asked of you anywhere on this website or at my Dropbox:
Dropbox link to BRO data-imagebase
If you have any questions about these downloads please email me at: .
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 the home page of the popular and reputable site 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.
Of course you can always simply view these files online, but I suggest acquiring them while they are still online. Before long I will be closing down this site, but hopefully setting up a new domain at some point.

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 secure Dropbox site follow this link:
Dropbox link to Deep Space CCD Atlases North and South
Again, if you have any questions about the download please contact me by email.
Atlas files can all be downloaded at once. I suggest maintaining download file organization so internal links remain intact.
To view 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. 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
 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) On-and-Offline.
NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (Comprehensive resources)
Adventures in Deep Space (Challenging observing projects, expert 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 the webpage on Cross-Training the Brain, click on the Cross-Training the Brain banner link above.
The book is my version of an interesting, if not fun, way to expand the mind.

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