High Precision Differential Photometry with CCDs: A Brief History

  • Steve B. Howell
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 373)


I present a brief history of the hunt for high photometric precision using CCDs in astronomy. CCDs were invented in 1969 and only 7 years later they started to appear at the major observatories of the time. The next 10 years constituted a steep learning curve for astronomers as they developed an understanding of CCDs as instruments and analysis techniques for use with digital images. In 1985, differential photometry with CCDs began producing light curves with precisions near 0.01 magnitude. By 2008, ground-based telescopes armed with CCDs and using differential techniques consistently can provide photometric precisions of 1 millimagnitude or better. The challenge now is to continue to improve the photometry using new types of CCD detectors and other advanced digital imagers.


Point Spread Function Photographic Plate Comparison Star Aperture Photometry Local Ensemble 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NOAOTucsonUSA

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