Tools & Training

How can you create the best results possible from your MicroObservatory images? How do the telescopes work? Need help figuring out what to look at? Looking for guidance on using the image processing software? Check out these resources to get you started.

Enhance your OWN images with our JS9-4L image processing software
Use our free image processing software to enhance your images taken with the MicroObservatory Telescopes (also works with other telescope images in "FITS" format). Optimize brightness and contrast, colorize images, and so much more!

Video Tutorials

Watch our series of video tutorials to learn how MicroObservatory and the JS9-4L image processor work. You’ll learn how to control telescopes to request your own images, how to process your images with the web-based JS9-4L software, and eventually how to create advanced true-color images and animations.

Each short video will lead you through a different step of the process to begin creating beautiful images of your own:

  • How to Request an Image
    This tutorial will show you how to use our website to request your own image of an astronomical object from one of the MicroObservatory telescopes.
  • How to Open a .FITS Image
    This tutorial will show you how to open images you receive from the telescopes using the web-based JS9-4L processing software.
  • How to Process a .FITS Image
    This tutorial will show you how to begin processing your telescope images using the web-based JS9-4L processing software.
  • How to Create a Simple RGB Image
    This tutorial will show you how to combine three separate MicroObservatory images (taken with red, green and blue filters) into one full-color image.

Legacy MicroObservatory Image: Video Tutorials

If you have Legacy MicroObservatory Image (our retired desktop application for MicroObservatory), you can access our series of video tutorials that demonstrates how to use this application to process images on your Windows or Mac computer. If you are new to MicroObservatory, you should instead use our web-based version of MicroObservatory and the JS9-4L processing software (please see the video tutorials for MicroObservatory listed above).

Directory of recently-taken telescope images

One of the best ways to figure out what target you want to point the telescopes at is to look at images taken by other users. This online directory contains all the images taken over the last two weeks, along with an archive of interesting images from years gone by. You can determine the telescope settings observers used by clicking on the "Info" link for each image.

Cosmic Cast of Characters reference guide

New to astronomy? Are you nebulous on the definition of nebulae? This 2-page quick-guide will help you to identify and take better pictures of the players on the cosmic stage.

Observing With NASA target information

Browse these web pages to find out more about the current list of available telescope targets by category. Each target also features a link to a NASA space science mission that has studied that object.

Image Processing Challenges

"Processing Challenges" are ways to quickly practice and learn tools and techniques for bringing out subtle features of your images. Includes a challenge for making a "natural-color" image from 3 images taken through red, green, and blue filters, and a challenge for creating animations using multiple images of the same target.

The Meaning of Color in Hubble Images

This website explains how astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope create color images from multiple black & white images taken through different color filters. The technique, as well as the science you can learn from it, is the same technique you can use with the digital images captured by the MicroObservatory telescopes.

Chandra Images and False Color

This website describes how astronomers who use the Chandra X-ray Observatory use "false color" to bring out important details in their images. The Chandra telescope detector records the intensity and energy of x-rays, which are invisible to human eyes.

Guide to CCD Imaging

This website is designed to teach how to take CCD images and to process them to achieve impressive results. It is also intended to be a showcase of CCD imaging to inspire you to head out under the stars and capture beautiful pictures!