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 Summer 2022 Season have posted! Check out the Standout Entries section to see the highlighted images and read feedback from NASA Scientists. Stay tuned for the Winter 2023 Challenge!

Follow the instructions for each of the three steps below. First you will choose one of NASA's images of Eta Carinae and , 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 professional astronomical images of Eta Carinae and in the Challenge Images list.
  • The image data was collected by different NASA missions and other professional telescopes, which represent different wavelengths of light.
  • Watch the expert video below to learn more about Eta Carinae and 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 Eta Carinae and 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

  • In order to enter the NASA Data Challenge, you will need:
    1. • Your self-processed image of Eta Carinae and/or
    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 to the NASA Data Challenge with this form
Submit your images to the Challenges here.
Google Form or

Expert astronomers take a close look at Eta Carinae and to explore what these objects are, where you can find them, and what different wavelengths reveal. The three experts we meet in this video are Dr. Rudolfo Montez, Dr. Joy Nichols, and Dr. Nathan Smith. All of the NASA images that the experts discuss here are available for you to work with in the NASA Data Challenge. Find them in the Challenge Images menu of JS9-4L.

Are you unable to see the YouTube video above? Watch the video here instead.
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 NASA Data 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.