Help astronomers find Hubble’s hidden treasures

You can win an iPod or iPad for the rare privilege of seeing something wonderful that no one has noticed before, in Hubble Space Telescope images.

The Hubble Space Telescope, one of the most beloved projects in space history, is responsible for a significant portion of NASA’s science findings and has provided us with a plethora of new discoveries. Of course, most people know Hubble for its amazing space images, which are displayed in textbooks, museums and libraries all over the country. The Space Science Telescope Institute (STScI) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have released hundreds of images over Hubble’s 21 years, but the published pictures account for only a fraction of the images Hubble has taken.

This is an image from the Hubble Hidden Treasures Flickr page. NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship.

See Hubble’s top 100 images

Now you can help in sorting through Hubble’s data and processing new images. In an effort to bring more of Hubble’s pictures out into the open, ESA has launched an initiative to enlist they’re calling Hubble’s Hidden Treasures.

To kick off the project, ESA is hosting a two-part competition. You can win an iPod or iPad, in addition to having the opportunity to have your picture featured as a picture of the week and in press releases. All images may be posted to the Hubble Hidden Treasures Flickr page, so everyone can see them.

In the first competition, users will pick a data set in the Hubble Legacy Archive and use simple online tools to adjust color and contrast. The winner of this contest will win the iPod.

The second competition is more complicated, allowing the public to use the same software the professionals use. The winner here will receive the iPad.

The video below explains the data Hubble collects and how the process of turning it into images works. More information can also be found on the ESA‘s web site and on the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures site. The contest closes on May 31, 2012.

Bottom line: NASA and the European Space Agency are sponsoring a two-part contest – an effort to engage the public with Hubble Space Telescope images – called Hubble’s Hidden Treasures. Win an iPod or iPad!

Hubble reveals a new class of exoplanet

Updated images of Eagle Nebula, aka Pillars of Creation

Five cool things to know about James Webb Space Telescope

Laura Dattaro

MORE ARTICLES