Want to create cool astronomy images using space telescope data? Here’s your chance. The AstroPhoto Challenges, from NASA’s Universe of Learning, lets you use real astronomical data and tools to process your own images of a galaxy. This season’s target galaxy is Messier 82 (M82).
The M82 challenge is open now through February 29, 2020. Enter the challenge here. There are videos here with more details about how to participate. Submit your astrophoto images to the challenge and they might be highlighted as standout entries. The standout entries will be recognized on the MicroObservatory Challenge page and the NASA Data Challenge page. Every standout entry will receive expert feedback from NASA scientists.
M82 is a starburst galaxy – a galaxy undergoing an exceptionally high rate of star formation – and is 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way
You can either capture your own real-time telescope image of M82 using the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network, or you can work with an archived set of NASA data files of M82, taken with four multi-wavelength space telescope missions: Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, and GALEX.
The challenges include instructions on how to turn those data into composite images with a simple image processing tool used by professional astronomers.
Here is a playlist of four separate videos of subject matter experts sharing what they see in the M82 galaxy in different wavelengths.
Bottom line: How to participate in NASA’s Astrophoto Challenges.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.