Dark Lightning is a fascinating tale of discovery, obscuration and rediscovery that begins in the days when photographers used Photographic Plates.
Photographic plates preceded photographic film as a capture medium in photography.
The light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts was coated on a glass plate, typically thinner than common window glass, instead of a clear plastic film.
This form of photographic material largely faded from the consumer market in the early years of the 20th century, as more convenient and less fragile films were increasingly adopted.
However, photographic plates were reportedly still being used by one photography business in London until the 1970s, and they were in wide use by the professional astronomical community as late as the 1990s.
Glass plates were far superior to film for research-quality imaging because they were extremely stable and less likely to bend or distort, especially in large-format frames for wide-field imaging.
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