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!

Standout Entries from the Winter 2020 Season have posted! Check out the Standout Entries section to see the highlighted images and read feedback from NASA Scientists.

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

  • Go to the Challenge Edition of JS9-4L web application.
  • Never used the JS9-4L image processor before? Take the Guided Tour when the page loads.
  • Open 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 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

Step 3: Submit Your Image

  • Make sure you've already processed an image of .
    Just starting? go back to Step 1.
  • 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 processed images to the NASA Data Challenge.
  • The Google form requires a Google email account. Don't have one? instead.
Submit your images:
Google Form or
Submit your images to the NASA Data Challenge with this form

Expert astronomers explore at different wavelengths of light. All of the NASA images that the experts discuss here are available for you to work with in the NASA Data Challenge. Check the Challenge Images menu.

Optical Light
Hubble Space Telescope
Professor of Physics, Catholic University of America
X-ray Light
Chandra X-ray Observatory
Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Ultraviolet Light
Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)
Astrophysicist, Carnegie Observatories
Infrared Light
Spitzer Space Telescope
Professor of Physics, Occidental College
Find these images and more at Astropix

We highlight a number of standout entries from each of the past seasons of NASA's Astrophoto Challenges. Click through the image thumbnails below to read expert feedback to participants from NASA scientists.


Choose from past seasons of the MicroObservatory Challenge below.

See standout entries for the MicroObservatory Challenge

When did this season end?

The season ended on .

We have reviewed all submissions to NASA's Astrophoto Challenges, and have posted standout entries on the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.

Follow our Twitter or Facebook pages to get updates whenever standout entries are posted.

What about past seasons?

You can still work with NASA data from past Challenges! Head to the Challenges Archive of JS9-4L, where you will find NASA image files among the Archived Images for all of the past seasons.

Want to see what others have done with image data? Check out standout entries from past Challenges on the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.