Lagoon Nebula, NASA's Hubble

NASA's Astrophoto Challenges
Fall 2018 Lagoon Nebula

The Fall 2018 Challenges have ended! The next set of Challenges will arrive in Spring 2019. Stay tuned!

MicroObservatory Challenge: What to do

For the MicroObservatory Challenge, you'll capture your own real-time telescope image of a target object, and process it using MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool. Then consider how the image you processed compares to an image of the target object processed by NASA.

If you are new to MicroObservatory, you'll probably want to read Instructions for Newcomers for each step below.

If you are experienced with MicroObservatory, Instructions for MicroObservatory Veterans should be enough.


Step 1: Capture Your Image

  • Go to the Control Telescope page of the Observing with NASA website.
  • Find the target object, and then click the Observe button below it.
  • Fill out the necessary fields, and then submit your image request.
  • Your image will be captured tonight by a MicroObservatory telescope, and emailed to you sometime tomorrow.
    It takes a day to receive your image because the telescopes can only capture your image at night!
  • Start processing your image by following the instructions in the Step 2 tab above.
telescope

Request an image of the the target object on the Control Telescope page of the Observing with NASA website.

Your image will be captured tonight by a MicroObservatory telescope, and emailed to you sometime tomorrow.
It takes a day to receive your image because the telescopes can only capture your image at night!

telescope

Still not sure what to do?

Watch the following tutorial for more detailed instructions:

How to Request an Image

Find other useful tutorials on the Tools & Training page.

Step 2: Create Your Image

  • A day after requesting your image, you'll get an email from microobservatorysupport@cfa.harvard.edu. Download your image to your device.
  • Open the JS9-4L web application to begin processing your image.
    Take the Guided Tour of the JS9-4L image processor if you have never used it before.
  • Open your image using the Image dropdown.
    You can also choose to process archived MicroObservatory images of the target object in the Challenge Images dropdown.
  • Use the processing tools included with JS9-4L to enhance your image. Get creative!
    If you aren't sure how to use JS9-4L's processing tools, check out the video tutorials below.
  • When you're done, save your image to your device as either a JPEG or PNG file.
    Be careful not to save as a FITS file. FITS format won't preserve all the processing that you've done.

Download your image of the target object, and then process it with the JS9-4L web application.

Still not sure what to do?

Watch the following tutorials for more detailed instructions:

How to Process a FITS Image

How to Create an RGB Image

How to Blend Images Together

Find other useful tutorials on the Tools & Training page.

Step 3: Compare Your Image

  • Download a NASA-processed image of the target object that you will compare with the image you processed.
    Check out the Astropix website for NASA imagery from many different telescopes.
  • Come up with a written comparison between your image and NASA's image of the target object. You'll need to include this comparison when you submit your image.
    Some things to think about: What features of the target object does each image focus on? Were different wavelengths of light used in either image? Think about what makes each image unique!

Step 4: Submit Your Image

  • Make sure you have:
    • • Your own processed image of the target object.
    • • One of NASA's processed images of the target object.
    • • A written comparison of the two images.
  • Submit your images and written comparison to this form to enter the MicroObservatory Challenge.

Submit your images and written comparison to this form to enter the MicroObservatory Challenge.
You'll need your processed image and a NASA-processed images of the target object, as well as a written comparison of the two.

While you're at it, why not share your photo on Facebook and Twitter too! Use the hashtag #AstrophotoChallenge, and mention us at @MicroObs (Twitter) or @MicroObservatory (Facebook).

When does the challenge end?

The Fall 2018 Challenges (Lagoon Nebula) ended on November 7th. We have posted standout entries to the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.

We will be posting a new season of NASA's Astrophoto Challenges in Spring 2019. Stay tuned!

By entering NASA's Astrophoto Challenges, 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.