August 24, 2012
European Space Agency’s Hubble Image Contest Winners Announced
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
The contest invited amateur image processors to select and process never-before-publicized images from Hubble's archives.
ESA said that it had nearly 3,000 submissions, with over a thousands of these images fully processed.
Ten winners were selected from the Basic Image Category and the Advanced Image Processing Category. Also, ESA offered up a "People's Choice" winner from each category.
The amateur astronomers were asked to create color pictures from over 700,000 available images of stars, nebulae, and galaxies from the Hubble data.
"The vast amount of data available from Hubble means that there are at least hundreds of potentially beautiful images that have never gone public," ESA said in a press release. "The images Hubble takes through various color filters need to be combined through image processing to render an aesthetic and scientifically accurate view."
Roughly half of the contestants used the Space Telescope Science Institute's Hubble Legacy Archive, which provides image processing tools for the public to use.
The first place prize winner received an Apple iPad, laminated wall print, Hubble posters, autograph by astronaut John Grunsfield, Eyes on the Skies book and DVD.
The second place prize winner received an aluminum mounted Hubble print, as well as the book and DVD.
Josh Lake, an amateur astronomer from the U.S., won the first prize, as well as the public vote. He submitted an image of NGC 1763, which is part of the star forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Lake produced a two-color image which contrasts the light from glowing hydrogen and nitrogen. The image is not in natural colors, but his processing separates them out into blue and red, highlighting the structure of the region.
Andre van der Hoeven of the Netherlands won second place with his image of the spiral galaxy Messier 77. He also entered images of Messier 106, and NGC 6537.
"Well, this was my hardest job until now," Hoeven said in a caption with the image. "Combining the different datasets to get equal colors was really hard. M77 was not fully covered by one dataset, so I had to combine channels of the WFPC2 with different wavelengths and tune the colors to get them to fit. But the result is in my opinion quite astonishing. Unbelievable this one was not released before."