NASA's Astrophoto Challenges

Try your hand at processing images from NASA's Space telescopes, or capture and process your own!

 
 

NASA's Astrophoto Challenges include two challenges: the MicroObservatory Challenge and the NASA Data Challenge. Enter either challenge – or both! – and the MicroObservatory and NASA's Universe of Learning team could select your work as a standout entry for feedback from NASA scientists! Watch the video above to learn more about the Summer 2019 Challenges. Then go to the NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges page for more detailed instructions on how to enter either challenge.

 

NASA Data Challenge

Select any of the authentic NASA's images of the Whirlpool Galaxy (available here), and process them with MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool.

Use all the techniques you've learned with MicroObservatory to process real NASA data and create your best image.

MicroObservatory Challenge

Capture your own real-time telescope image of the Whirlpool Galaxy, and process it with MicroObservatory's JS9-4L tool.

Then consider how the image you processed compares to an image of the Whirlpool Galaxy processed by NASA.


Experience NASA Data

 

By following informal learning best practices, NASA’s Universe of Learning allows learners to experience the universe for themselves. One example of this is NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges, which encourages participants to experience the excitement of NASA astrophysics, understand science concepts, and observe and make sense of the universe.

 

Observe

Capture Your Own Images Using  MicroObservatory

Capture Your Own Images Using MicroObservatory

 

Build Scientific Practices

Create Your Own Composite Image with an  Astronomer’s Image Processing Tool

Create Your Own Composite Image with an Astronomer’s Image Processing Tool


Compare and Contrast

Compare your MicroObservatory Composite Image with Images from NASA’s Space-based Telescopes Hosted on  AstroPix

Compare your MicroObservatory Composite Image with Images from NASA’s Space-based Telescopes Hosted on AstroPix

 

Explore more with NASA Data

Use Your Image Processing Skills and NASA Data to Create Your Own Versions of NASA Images

Use Your Image Processing Skills and NASA Data to Create Your Own Versions of NASA Images

 

Learn from Experts

 

Subject Matter Experts provide science content for each of the objects in NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges. Experts in astronomy and image processing also provide knowledgeable and positive feedback on standout entries in each challenge.

Astronomers discuss the Whirlpool Galaxy at different wavelengths of light:

 
 

Optical Light

Hubble Space Telescope

Dr. Rupali Chandar

Professor of Astronomy, University of Toledo

 

Ultraviolet Light

Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX)

Dr. Marja Seidel

Astrophysicist, IPAC/Caltech

 

X-ray Light

Chandra X-ray Observatory

Dr. Daryl Haggard

Professor of Physics, McGill Space Institute

 

Infrared Light

Spitzer Space Telescope

Dr. J.D. Smith

Professor of Astronomy, University of Toledo

 
 

Participation Information

Who Can Participate?

Anyone! You just need an email address to receive any images you take with the MicroObservatory robotic telescopes. If you are 12 or younger, you will need to have your parent/guardian do this activity with you.

What do I do?

Find detailed instructions to participate in either challenge on the MicroObservatory Challenge page and the NASA Data Challenge page.

Are you new to MicroObservatory? Check out all the tutorials available on the Tools & Training page.

How do I enter my images?

Submit your images here for either the MicroObservatory Challenge or the NASA Data Challenge.

What Happens with My Entry?

The NASA's Universe of Learning and MicroObservatory Team will review all of the submissions, and highlight entries that demonstrate compelling and creative image-processing techniques.

When does the challenge end?

The Summer 2019 NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges ended on July 31st. Look for a new challenge this winter 2019 / 2020.

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

We have posted standout entries from last season's Challenges to the MicroObservatory Challenge and NASA Data Challenge pages.

By entering NASA's Astrophoto Challenges, you agree to allow Smithsonian and NASA's Universe of Learning to publish the images and information you provide in your submission form. We will only use this information to recognize your entry on our websites and social media.