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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Want to learn how to process space images? Take my Cosmoquest Academy class!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

09-08-2013 17:40 CDT

Topics: explaining image processing, events and announcements, amateur image processing

The Planetary Society and Cosmoquest have teamed up to offer a short course in space image processing, and I'll be teaching! Here's the description:

Introduction to Space Image Processing

This four-session class will introduce you to spacecraft image processing, with particular focus on Mars Exploration Rover and Cassini images. By the end of the class, you'll be able to find and improve pretty pictures from Mars and Saturn, with motion and color. No previous experience or understanding of image processing is necessary. Exercises in the class will use free and open-source GIMP software.

Mondays and Wednesdays, October 14-23, 2013, 8-9 AM PDT / 11-noon EDT / 15h-16h UTC


Mondays and Wednesdays, October 14-23, 2013, 8-9 PM PDT / 11-midnight EDT

Note that there are two sections -- you choose either the morning one or the evening one. (My morning or evening, that is!) Cosmoquest Academy classes are limited to eight students per section, conducted face-to-face via Google Hangouts. They are not Hangouts on Air; this is not open to the public. You will interact with me and the rest of the class via webcam through a private Hangout. The class is intended for people who are total newbies to space image data and image processing. If this goes well and there is interest, I'll teach a followup class that digs deeper into the data archives and goes through more advanced methods.

The fee is $100; it's only $70 for Planetary Society members. (Not a member? Join here!) If you're a member and want to take the class, send me an email with your member number before you register, and I'll get you the discount code. I will work through class exercises using the free and open-source GIMP software for processing images. If you do plan to take the class and aren't familiar with GIMP, you should download and install GIMP and run through this quick tutorial to learn the basics of the software.

If you have always wanted to learn how to make pretty space images, now's your chance!

A gaggle of moons (intermediate processing step)

NASA / JPL / SSI / color composite by Emily Lakdawalla

A gaggle of moons (intermediate processing step)
Red, green, and blue-filter images taken by Cassini on July 29, 2011 were aligned on the ansa of Saturn's rings, which appears its proper yellowish color. But the motions of the five moons between the acquisition of the three pictures cause them to spread out across the different color channels.
A gaggle of moons

NASA / JPL / SSI / color composite by Emily Lakdawalla

A gaggle of moons
Cassini caught five moons at the edge of Saturn's ring system in this natural color photo from July 29, 2011. From left to right the moons are Janus, Pandora, Enceladus, Mimas, and Rhea.
See other posts from August 2013


Or read more blog entries about: explaining image processing, events and announcements, amateur image processing


Michael Richmond: 08/09/2013 10:29 CDT

I'm glad to hear that you're going to teach a class! Your posts in this blog show that you know now to reach people at different levels of experience and give everyone something new to understand. If you're teaching the class via Google Hangout, it would seem possible to capture some of the materials you'll be using and put them on a web page at some later point so that many readers can learn from you. Would you be willing to do that?

Emily Lakdawalla: 08/10/2013 08:38 CDT

I have some tutorials online already:

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