Tools & Training

  • How can you capture the best results from your MicroObservatory images?
  • How do the telescopes work?
  • Need help figuring out what to target in the sky?
  • Looking for guidance using the image-processing software?

  • Check out the resources below to get started

Enhance Images with the JS9-4L Software

Use our free image-processing software to enhance your FITS images (taken with either the MicroObservatory Telescopes or other telescope images in "FITS" format). Optimize brightness and contrast, colorize images, and so much more!

MicroObservatory Video Tutorials

Watch our series of video tutorials to learn how MicroObservatory and the JS9-4L image processor work, and other tricks that might help you in your processing.

Each video will lead you through a different step towards 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 true-color image.
  • How to Create an Adavanced Image
    This tutorial will show you how to use a dark calibration image to remove image noise from your red-, green-, and blue-filtered images before combining them into one true-color image.

Directory of Recent Telescope Images

One way to figure out what target you want to point a MicroObservatory telescope 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 used by clicking on the "Info" link for each image.

Image Processing Challenges

Processing Challenges help you practice and learn the best tools and techniques to bring out subtle features of your images. Included are a challenge to make a "natural-color" image from 3 images (taken through red, green, and blue filters), and a challenge to create animations using multiple images of the same target.

Legacy MicroObservatory Image: Video Tutorials

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

Cosmic Cast of Characters Reference Guide

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

Observing With NASA Target Information

Browse these webpages to learn more about the available telescope targets by category. Each target also features a link to a NASA space science mission that has studied that object.

The Meaning of Color in Hubble Images

This website explains how Hubble Space Telescope astronomers create color images from multiple black & white images taken through different color filters. The technique, and the science behind it, are the same as you will experience with the digital images captured by the MicroObservatory telescopes.

Chandra Images and False Color

This website describes how Chandra X-ray Observatory astronomers 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 will teach you how to take CCD images and process them to achieve impressive results. It is also a showcase of the power of CCD imaging, which just may inspire you to head out under the stars and capture some beautiful pictures!