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

Ever wanted to manipulate images taken by powerful telescopes yourself? NASA’s Astrophoto Challenge invites you to try out your image-processing skills in two ways: You may use the raw data from a space-based telescope or capture new telescope data (that night!) with the MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network. Next, you’ll use the JS9-4L tool to process the image. You’ll start with a grayscale image, just as NASA imaging specialists would, and then toggle the images from each telescope filter, trying to highlight the stars, gas, and dust clearly. Not sure how to start? We have resources to help you learn how to adjust scale, brightness and contrast, and then combine images from different filters to create full-color images. The final step? Submit your entry for review by professional astronomers. A few weeks after each contest ends, the top entries are posted to the NASA’s Astrophoto Challenge website. Below, you will find all the details to participate in an upcoming challenge or process images at your own pace, any time.



An Introduction to NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges


Even if there isn’t an active challenge, you can still work with NASA data from past challenges!
Use the JS9-4L tool to process your own image today.



NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges help participants experience the universe for themselves! Along the way, they may experience the excitement of NASA astrophysics, understand science concepts, and observe and make sense of the universe.

MicroObservatory Robotic Telescope Network
Screenshot of the Astronomer’s Image Processing Tool software
Build Scientific Practices
Screenshot of Composite Images on AstroPix
Compare and Contrast
Astrophoto Challenge final image example using m82
Explore More with NASA Data


Video still for intro video for NASA's Data Challenge

Astronomers Discuss M87 at Different Wavelengths

Astronomers explore M87 at different wavelengths of light. All of the NASA images that the experts discuss are available for you to work with in the NASA Data Challenge. Find them in the Challenge Images menu of JS9-4L

Dr. Sera Markoff, Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam
Dr. Urmila Chadayammuri, Chandra X-Ray Center
Dr. Eileen Meyer, University of Maryland, Baltimore County



Want to see what others have done? Check out standout entries from past challenges!

Past Competitions can be found in our resource catalog.