NASA's Astrophoto Challenge

Fall 2018 • Lagoon Nebula

NASA's Astrophoto Challenge puts your image-processing skills to the test. Pick up new skills as you work with your own telescope imagery (captured nightly by MicroObservatory's publicly-accessible telescopes) — or you can work with real NASA image data. Submit your final processed image to the Challenge, and the MicroObservatory and NASA's Universe of Learning team just may select your work as a standout entry to receive feedback from real NASA scientists!

Watch the video below for an introduction of how to participate in NASA's Astrophoto Challenge.

The Two Challenges

NASA's Astrophoto Challenge actually includes TWO different challenges: the MicroObservatory Challenge, and the NASA Data Challenge. You can enter either, or both!

MicroObservatory Challenge

Capture your own real-time telescope image of the Lagoon Nebula, and process it using MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool.

Then consider how the image you processed compares to an image of the Lagoon Nebula processed by NASA.

Click here for instructions

NASA Data Challenge

Select any of NASA's Lagoon Nebula images available in the Astrophoto Challenge, and process it using MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool.

Use all the processing techniques you've learned with MicroObservatory to work with real NASA data and create your best image.

Click here for instructions

Who Can Participate?

Anyone can participate! You just need an email address to receive any images you take with the MicroObservatory robotic telescopes. If you are 12 or younger, you will need to have your parent/guardian do this activity with you.

How Do I Enter?

To submit your images to the either the MicroObservatory Challenge or the NASA Data Challenge, fill out this form. If you need instructions, you can find them on the MicroObservatory Challenge Instructions page, or the NASA Data Challenge instructions page.

What Happens with My Entry?

The MicroObservatory Team and NASA's Universe of Learning will review all submissions, and highlight standout entries in these three categories:

Compelling Processing

based on your processing of
MicroObservatory images using the JS9-4L processing tool

Thoughtful Comparison

based on your written comparison of the image you processed and a NASA-processed image

Compelling Processing
(NASA data)

based on your processing of
NASA data using the JS9-4L processing tool

We will announce standout entries of this season’s challenge on our facebook page, our twitter page, as well as on NASA's Astrophoto Challenge website.

By entering this challenge, you agree to allow Smithsonian and NASA's Universe of Learning to publish the images and information you provide in your submission form. We will only use this information to recognize you as a standout entry on our website and social media.

Lagoon Nebula, NASA's Hubble

Resembling a pool of light in the sky, the Lagoon Nebula is a giant cloud of hot hydrogen gas glowing from the intense light of newborn stars. The Lagoon Nebula, like other star-forming regions, can give us an insight into the environment that gave birth to our own Sun 5 billion years ago.

When does the challenge end?

The challenge will end on November 7th, at which point we will review the entries and highlight standout entries on Facebook, Twitter and NASA's Astrophoto Challenge website.