Image Processing Resources for Astronomy Teaching
(http://www.phy.duke.edu/~kolena/imagepro.html)

originally produced for the Astronomy Education Committee of the American Association of Physics Teachers

last revised: March 27, 2014

                     how to access images from major satellites and observatories
                     a relatively non-technical intro to common image formats
                     the technical guide to FITS image formats;  also gsfc FITS links


the contents of this page

1) image processing astronomy software

2) web browser and applet FITS viewers

3) remote access telescopes

4) astronomy image processing curriculum activities

5) citizen science projects

6) coming soon: astronomy java applets


 
 
image processing astronomy software for pc/mac

based on my experience, recommendations for introductory astronomy courses are tagged

software
operating system

hardware
availability 
&
cost
image formats
supported
audience
(or software description)
e-mail contact
(or user guide)
AIP Windows 98SE or later
$99.95 (includes 684-pp book:
Handbook of Astronomical Image Processing and

600 MB archive of CCD images

software now in version 2.0
($99.95 for new users; $59.95 for an upgrade for users who own 1.0)
FITS "Amateur Astronomers, Professional Astronomers,   College students, Engineering students, High School science teachers,  Astronomy lab teachers"






AstroArt Windows 2000 through Windows 8
129 Euro for version 5
(upgrade from version 4.0: 89 euro)
FITS (8, 16), TIFF, JPEG
and others
"A complete software for image processing, photometry, astrometry, camera control and image stacking for digital and film images." astroart@msbsoftware.it
AVIS Windows 7, VISTA, XP,
2000, 98
freeware version
of AstroArt software above
FITS (8, 16)&
CCD SBIG files

msbsoftware@tin.it
ds9 
Windows Vista/XP/
2000/NT

MacOSX (Darwin) 
 
Linux, LinuxPPC, Solaris, SGI, Alpha OSF1, HP-UX 
 

free

new to ds9?
check the FAQ
FITS educators,  astronomers

The Chandra X-ray Observatory Education site provides a connection between  DS9 software, Chandra data sets, and analysis tools that can be used to analyze Chandra data.  You can download DS9 for use interactively with Chandra data or for general use with any FITS data from any source.

cxcedu@cfa.harvard.edu

FITS Liberator
version 3 for
Windows

(XP, Vista or Windows 7,
all 32 or 64 bit)
Mac OS X-
10.5+


free

FITS,
PDS

"to create colour images using raw observations from a range of telescopes, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, ESO’s Very Large Telescope and ESA’s XMM-Newton Telescope"

user guide
FITSview Windows 
3.1/95/98/ME/XP/Vista
Mac; Unix/Linux
free FITS
bcotton@nrao.edu

FITS Preview


Mac OS
X 10.8 or later,
64-bit processor


$4.99 available from the Mac App store

FITS


see also
Cloudmakers xINDI Project


FITS4Win2


32 and 64-bit
Windows Vista, 7, and 8



AUD$75

"Displays FITS images wherever image previews or thumbnails are shown and allows full-sized images to be loaded into most of the latest Windows applications that handle images. Like Windows Explorer, File Dialog boxes, Windows Photo Viewer, Movie Maker and Microsoft Office components like Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc."

FITSPlug v2
Windows Photoshop
plugin for v3 through v14

AUD$50


"load, save, and  export 8-, 16-, and 32-bit mono
and 3-plane colour FITS images"


fv 4.1
Mac OS-X,
most Windows
and UNIX platforms

free FITS file editor
"graphical program for viewing and editing
FITS format images or tables"
ftoolshelp
@athena.gsfc.nasa.gov

iCCD

Mac

free
FITS, TIFF, JPG,
PICT, BMP. PDF

"controls the Starlight Express cameras and
opens FITS files on the macintosh"

terryj@iit.edu

ImageTOOLSca

Windows

free
FITS, JPG,
TIFF, BMP,
and camera formats

"A lightweight image viewer for FITS and other formats"

IRAF PC 486 or better
running LINUX
free download

$50 on CD

FITS astronomers iraf@noao.edu
Iris 5.59
Windows 95/98/NT free FITS, PIC, BMP

JPEG viewer
Windows
Macintosh
free
JPEG images
only
secondary (and older primary) students

Makali'i 
(Subaru)

version 2.0 for
Windows XP/Vista/7
free, but registration required;
restricted to non-commercial,
scientific/educational purposes.

FITS

educators, amateur astronomy research

user manual
Maxim
(DL 5.0)
Windows 95/98/NT4/ME/XP/2000 $599 MaxIm DL

FITS, TIFF, 
JPG, BMP
"the perfect tool for amateur  and professional astronomers"

primary (?) use is for observatory/camera control
sales
@cyanogen.com

MicroObservatory
Image 2.3
Windows
Mac OS X
Linux


free

FITS, GIF

students and educators

users manual
MIRA

Windows 7 or 8 (32 and 64 bit), Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit),  Windows XP, or 100% compatible Windows environment on Linux or Mac.
Mira-AL  $129 and up

Mira-AP  $149 and up
Mira-PRO  $399 and up

K-12 classroom pricing available

FITS, TIFF,
JPEG, BMP, ...
 
8 to 64 bit,
including 24 bit color..


"Mira AL allows amateur astronomers, educators, and students
to do real science on a tight budget."

"Mira AP (aka Mira Pro Lite) "provides professional quality calibration,
data reduction, visualization, and measurement tools"


Mira Pro is a "powerful, general-use tool for astronomical research, including areas such as variable star research, exoplanet search,
millimag level photometry, supernova patrol, minor planet detection & rotation studies, and data mining"


info@mirametrics.com

QFitsView

Windows
Mac OS X
Linux

free

FITS


Thomas Ott
Remote Astronomy
Software

[combines CCDSoft 5.0
(CCD controller & image processor) 
& TheSky
(planetarium 
program)]

Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000/or higher $349 for 
CCDSoft

$295 for 
RAS
(discount to 
TIE participants)

site licenses available

FITS, TIFF,
JPEG, BMP,
and others
educators, 
amateur astronomers
support@bisque.com

Salsa J
(subset of ImageJ)

Windows
Mac OS-X
Linux

free

FITS

students & educators
multi-language (8 European)




SkySight

PC users: need a Pentium or higher processor; Windows 95, 98, or Me; 32 MB of RAM; and 30 MB of disk space.

Mac users: need a PCI Power Macintosh computer; Mac OS 8 or higher; 32 MB of RAM; and 30 MB of disk space.

Please note: the current version of SkySight will not run under Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Mac OS X.

free

However, Macintosh users will need to purchase a parallel-port card in order to communicate with the cameras that SkySight supports. Right now, SkySight supports several parallel-port cards, both PCI (for desktop Macs) and PCMCIA (for PowerBooks). The PCI cards cost $30-$40; the PCMCIA cards


cost $130.

FITS,
JPG,
GIF
astronomy image enthusiasts
info@southernstars.com

toll-free (866) 887-7827

image
processors
that read
FITS images,
but with no
astronomy
orientation






Image J
TRIA
VIPS

software
no  longer
available


HOU (Hands On Universe), Image-32, Quantum Image, Scion Image;

also, JPEG Viewer and
NIH Image have been removed from this list because they do not read FITS images



web browser & applet astronomical image viewers

program
type of application
statement of purpose
cost
contact

Aladin Sky Atlas

Java Standalone application   
Java web applet


"allows the user to visualize digitized astronomical images,

superimpose entries from astronomical catalogues or databases,
and interactively access related data and information from the Simbad database, the VizieR service, ..."


free


user guide

jFITS

Java applet

"
a Java Swing based application and applet for quickly viewing
and performing simple operations on astronomical FITS formatted CCD imaging data."


free


Sky Image Processor (SIP)

Java applet

"to learn
how to accomplish the three major tasks of astronomical imaging:
image processing and analysis, photometry, astronometry"


free

jsimonetti@vt.edu






 

remote access telescope projects
(very outdated....    updated version coming soon)


program
image format 
open to image requests? 
image archive open?
statement of purpose
e-mail contact
Automated Telescope Facility (ATF)
University of Iowa
FITS, 
GIF
yes, 
registration
yes
rlm
@physics.uiowa.edu
(Robert Mutel)
Bradford Robotic Telescope FITS, GIF yes,
registration
yes
with registration

john@telescope.org
(John Baruch)
Case Western Reserve Univ Robotic Telescope FITS yes,
registration
yes

Hands On Universe 16-bit 
FITS
open to program participants only 
(high school, middle school)
yes click here asbellcl
@olympus.stmarys.ca
(Jodi Asbell-Clarke)
MicroObservatory
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
FITS, 
GIF
yes, with enrollment yes click here rgould
@cfa.harvard.edu
(Roy Gould)
Remote Access Astronomy Project (RAAP)
UC-Santa Barbara
FITS yes yes
raap
@rot.physics.ucsb.edu
(Tom Fuller, Coordinator) 
Telescopes in Education (TIE)
Mt. Wilson Observatory

access to program participants 
(middle-school to college)
some GIF samples click here mcragg@earthlink.net
(Mary Cragg)



astronomy image processing curriculum activities

***  =  especially recommended

curriculum Program
image format supported
number of activities
availability
 
Astroart FITS 3 free 3 tutorial activities
Astronomy Village TIFF

astrov@cet.edu
Automated Telescope Facility (ATF)
University of Iowa
FITS, GIF 10 free download
Eu-Hou ***
FITS more than 20 free

Faulkes Telescope ***
FITS more than 20 free

Hands On Universe ***
FITS more than 20 free

Hubble Space Telescope FITS archive

getting started with Hubble image processing
MicroObservatory



Study of Exoplanets
Remote Access Astronomy Project (RAAP)
UC-Santa Barbara

no longer active, but a published book exists
FITS 13 free download raap
@rot.physics.ucsb.edu
(Tom Fuller, 
Coordinator)

Skyserver at SDSS



8 projects for grade school and middle school students
8 projects for middle school & high school students
8 projects for advanced high school & college students
1 long-term research project on H II regions
Telescopes in Education (TIE)
Mt. Wilson Observatory

12 free download



astronomy citizen science projects

project name
sponsor institution
start year
subfield
description






Staradust@Home

UC-Berkeley

2006

interplanetary/stellar
Search for interplanetary/interstellar dust
impacts with the aerogel on
Stardust spacecraft






Asteroids Mappers, Vesta edition

Astroquest

2011

solar system
Determine the history of the
asteroid Vesta by mapping surface craters
using data from the Dawn spacecraft

Moon Mappers

Astroquest

2011

solar system
Determine the history of the
Earth's Moon by mapping surface craters
using data from

Planet Mappers, Mercury edition


Astroquest

2011

solar system
Determine the history of the
Mercury by mapping surface craters
using data from Messenger spacecraft





Target Asteroids
&
Target NEOs

Astronomical League,
LPL, U Arizona

2012

solar system
amateur astronomers take images
of asteroids using their own telescopes & CCD cameras,
perform image analysis to obtain
astrometric and photometric data

Galaxy Zoo


Zooinverse

2007

extraglactic
Classify galaxy images
using data from Hubble Space Telescope,
SDSS, and UKIRT

Moon Zoo

Zoooinverse

2009

lunar
Classify lunar images

using Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter data

Solar Storm Watch


Zooinverse

2009

solar
Spot and track surface explosions
on the sun using data from
the STEREO spacecraft

Planet Hunters


Zooinverse

2010

exoplanets
Identify extrasolar planets from variations in
the light curves
of stars using data from
the
Kepler space telescope

Disk Detective

Zooinverse

2010

exoplanet systems
Find the birthplace of planets by
searching for star systems with dusty disks
using data from the WISE mission

SetiLive


Zooinverse

2013

exoplanets
Search for interesting radi signals
coming from objects with the Kepler satellite field
using data from the Allen Telescope Srray

Space Warps

Zooinverse

2013

extragalactic
Find distribution of dark matter in the universe
by measuring the effects of foreground
gravitational lenses on the images of background galaxies

Radio Galaxy Zoo

Zooinverse

2013

extragalactic
help discover supermassive black holes

using NRAO and CSIRO radio data

Planet Four

Zooinverse

2013

Mars
Find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface
(which should indicate wind direction and speed)
using data from Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter

Milky Way

Zooinverse

2014

Milky Way galaxy
Map the Milky Way by searching
for star clusters and interstellar bubbles
on Spitzer images

Sunspotter


Zooinverse

2014

solar
Examine images of sunspots and rank pairs of images
according to their relative complexity
using data from the
SOHO spacecraft






Loss of the Night    download Android app

Dark Sky Meter    download the Iphone app




2006


sky

Measure star visibility and light pollution in your location
and contribute to worldwide data base






if you have suggestions or comments,
want to report broken links,

or know of other image processing resources,
send mail to
kolena@gmail.com