Veil Nebula, about 6 hours of light

Veil Nebula, about 6 hours of light

An idea occured to me while talking to others: it would be nice to have access to fellow amateur astronomers’ raw data sets, for various reasons. The idea and the initiative is not new, sometimes I do publicly share my raws, and others might do the same. How and why, one could ask. Let’s see some thoughts.

Why share?

Taking the pictures themselves is a technical activity. It involves nothing more than the equipment itself and a good amount of luck. Processing them, on the other hand, while still a very technical activity, is more like art. Two very different fields.

One might note that the Hubble image archive is public, raws can be downloaded by anyone. One should also note the long road these raws take in the graphic artists’ workshop until they get released as >>Hubble pictures<<.

I’m a curious photographer and I’m amazed how my continually evolving skills make it possible to mine out better images from the same data sets each time I take out my old raws from the archives. I’m also curious what others might get using my raw data. Conversely, getting a fellow’s data set acquired with superior setup otherwise unavailable to me was an opportunity to me.

On the long run I can imagine the raws from the same technical setup being combined (200 mm lense, Heart and Soul nebulae, Canon 1100D) thus adding up to dozens of hours of raw data.

Technical issues

One night I took 234 GiB of raws imaging Jupiter and its moons. My deepsky sessions mean 3-10 GiB raw data (with a rather modest 12 MP DSLR). No sane person would buy web hosting services for these amounts of data, right now I have a 10 GiB limit on my website and I don’t intend to increase it. I host some data at home on my RPi (web server) but these hosting solutions don’t seem to be scalable. However,  this project should run as a community effort and as such, torrents would do a nice job balancing the load, providing storage and good availability once the files are seeded by about a dozen peers. Contact info, like email, license (see below) and the dataset itself should be included, and a free, public tracker used.


I wouldn’t want my work to get stolen in any way. From a legal point of view (copyright) a Creative Commons license should suffice. While many think torrents are equal to breaking the law, because many use torrents to illegally share copyrighted content, this is not the case. One might download Linux via torrent, to give just a single example.

I wrote down these ideas hoping they or their spirit get carried to others and that one day this project comes to life, one way or another. :)