MicroObservatory Challenge

For this challenge, you will need to process astronomical image data that you collect yourself from MicroObservatory telescopes. Submit your processed images to the challenge, and your work may be selected as a standout entry to receive feedback from NASA scientists!

Check out the What to do section to learn how to participate.

The Summer 2019 Season has ended! We are currently reviewing submissions, and will post standout entries to the MicroObservatory Challenge and the NASA Data Challenge pages toward the end of August.

What to do

Follow the instructions below for each of the four steps. First you will capture your own real-time telescope image, then you'll create your own image using the JS9-4L image-processing tool, then you'll compare your processed image to a NASA-processed image, and finally you'll submit your processed image to the MicroObservatory Challenge.

Step 1: Capture Your Image

  • Go to the Control Telescope page of the Observing with NASA website.
  • Find , 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 Step 2.
Continue to Step 2: Create

Video Tutorials

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 of , you'll get an email from . Download your image to your device.
  • Open the Challenge Edition of 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 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.
Continue to Step 3: Compare
JS9-4L image processing tool - open your image JS9-4L image processing tool - process your image
A processed MicroObservatory image of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Video Tutorials

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 that you will compare with the image you processed.
  • Check out the Astropix website for NASA imagery from many different telescopes.
  • Write a comparison between your image and NASA's image of . You'll need to include this comparison when you submit your image.
  • Some things to think about: What features of does each image focus on? Were different wavelengths of light used in either image? Think about what makes each image unique!
Continue to Step 4: Submit

Step 4: Submit Your Image

  • In order to enter the MicroObservatory Challenge, you will need:
    1. • Your own processed image of
    2. • A written description of how you processed your image
    3. • One of NASA's processed images of
    4. • A written comparison of the two images
  • Submit your images to this form to enter the MicroObservatory Challenge.
  • The form requires a Google email account. Don't have one? Submit through Facebook instead.
Submit your images:
Google Form or
Submit your images to the MicroObservatory Challenge with this form

When do the challenges end?

The Astrophoto Challenges ended on .

We are currently reviewing all submissions. Before the end of August we will announce standout entries on our facebook page, our twitter page, as well as on the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.

There will be a new season of NASA's Astrophoto Challenges in Winter 2019, so stay tuned!