NASA Data Challenge

In this challenge, you will be able to process real NASA astronomical image data. Submit your processed images to the challenge, and your work may be selected as a standout entry to receive feedback from NASA scientists!

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 for each of the three steps below. First you will choose one of NASA's images of , then you will create your own image using the JS9-4L image-processing tool, and finally you'll submit your processed image to the NASA Data Challenge.


Step 1: Choose Your Image

  • Navigate to the Challenge Edition of 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 of in the Challenge Images list.
  • The image data was collected by different NASA missions, and represents different wavelengths of light.
  • Watch the expert videos below to learn more about through each of the different wavelengths of light included in the Challenge Images list.
  • Start processing your image data by following the instructions in Step 2.
Continue to Step 2: Create
Challenge Images available in JS9-4L

Step 2: Create Your Image

  • You should see your image of open in the JS9-4L image processor.
  • If you don't see your image inside the JS9-4L frame, 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.
Continue to Step 3: Submit
Process real NASA data in JS9-4L
A processed image of the Whirlpool Galaxy with NASA's Spitzer data

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

  • In order to enter the NASA Data Challenge, you will neeed:
    1. • Your self-processed NASA image of
    2. • A written description of how you processed your image
  • Submit your images to this form to enter the NASA Data 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 NASA Data Challenge with this form

Expert Discussions

Astronomers discuss at different wavelengths of light

Optical Light
Hubble Space Telescope
Dr. Rupali Chandar
Professor of Astronomy, University of Toledo
X-ray Light
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Dr. Daryl Haggard
Professor of Physics, McGill Space Institute
Ultraviolet Light
Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)
Dr. Marja Seidel
Astrophysicist, IPAC/Caltech
Infrared Light
Spitzer Space Telescope
Dr. J.D. Smith
Professor of Astronomy, University of Toledo
Find these Whirlpool Galaxy images and more at Astropix

When do the challenges end?

The Summer 2019 Astrophoto Challenges end on .

When the challenges end, we will review all submissions and announce standout entries on our facebook page, our twitter page, as well as on the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.