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!

NASA Data Challenge: What to do

Select any of NASA's images of this season's target object, and process them using MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool. Use all the techniques you've learned with MicroObservatory to process real NASA data and create your best image.

Whether you are new to MicroObservatory or have lots of experience, you'll find all the instructions you need for each step below in one section, called Instructions for Newcomers & MicroObservatory Veterans.


Step 1: Choose Your Image

  • Navigate to the Astrophoto Challenge version of the JS9-4L web application.
  • Take the Guided Tour of the JS9-4L image processor if you have never used it before.
  • Click on the Challenge Images dropdown in the JS9-4L navigation bar.
  • Choose from any of the NASA images in the Challenge Images list, which were all taken by different NASA missions.
  • Start processing your image data by following the instructions in the Step 2 tab above.

Step 2: Create Your Image

  • Your image should now be open within the JS9-4L image processor. If you don't see an image within the frame of JS9-4L, go back to Step 1.
  • Use the tools included with the JS9-4L processor to enhance your image. Get creative!
    If you aren't sure how to use the processing tools of JS9-4L, 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.

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: Submit Your Image

  • Make sure you have your self-processed NASA image of the target object.
  • Fill out this form, where you will submit your image to NASA's Astrophoto Challenge, and describe how you processed it.

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.