HOYS Citizen Science

General Project Update

Our HOYS - LCO project is progressing well. We have now taken 38 sets of B,V,R images of the Cocoon Nebula with 3x2min exposure times in each filter. See below for an exciting competition with great prizes, that we will run from now to Christmas with this data.
We are now in the middle of the second round of observations. All but a few of you had their second set of data set-up or taken. Soon we will start round three of data taking.

HOYS-LCO data analysis videos

This is a reminder that links to all our help videos for the project are on the website. This page also contains links to the analysis videos we have developed. We will update this page whenever new videos are made available and will inform everyone via this newsletter. We have now posted two further videos that allow you to work with the images you and all other participants have been taking with LCO.

Downloading LCO images and converting them to FITS format

The first new video explains the downloading and converting of images from the LCO website to your PC. This is based on a Windows PC set-up and uses free software. But the conversion program will work in a very similar way on any other platform. After going through the video you will be able to download your own images from LCO, as well as any other pictures taken by the other participants in the project, and convert them into FITS format. This is the image format that any astronomy software uses, and that will allow you to look at, manipulate and investigate the images. You will in principle also have access to any other public images in the LCO database, so please explore the archives and see what you can find.

Stacking images and making colour composites

The second new video explains how you can stack images taken in the same filter to generate a deeper image. It also shows you how to make colour composites of either the individual or the stacked images. Again, we show this using a free software in Windows, but any other software will in principle work in the same way. We do explain the main principles of stacking and creating colour composites. Please do experiment with the program to then adjust the colour stretches and balances to see what can be done.

Picture Competition

Given the knowledge you gained by watching the two new videos and experimenting with the data, we will run a small picture competition for Christmas. All HOYS-LCO participants (i.e. everyone who has taken images with LCO for the project) are eligible to take part in this.


We are looking for the 'best' colour image of the Cocoon Nebula made from LCO observations of this target. There is of course no definition of 'best'. Please be creative. You can make a very deep picture by stacking a lot of images, focus on the entire nebula or try to bring out a particular part in vivid colours. You can use any filters and image manipulation you like. This is completely up to you.
Each participant is allowed two entries. Please email any images you wish to enter in the competition to Dirk Froebrich (in .gif, .png, or .jpg format). The deadline for entries is December 15th 2020 at 5pm (UT). I will then make the images available (without names) to the other people who are involved running HOYS and they will select the best two entries for our two prizes. I will not get a vote as I do know who send the images in. The only condition for the prizes will be that no-one can get both prizes.

The Prizes:

We do have two prizes for this competition.
The first prize is one hour of observing time with the LCO network's 1m telescopes. You can use that for anything you like to observe. No restrictions. We will be happy to help you with questions regarding the set-up.
The second prize is one hour of observing time with the LCO network's 0.4m telescopes. Again, you can use that for anything you like.
The only restriction for the observations will be that you have to use the time before the official end of the HOYS-LCO project - July 2021.
Have fun making the colour images!
Thanks for taking part,
Dirk Froebrich
HOYS Citizen Science
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