The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is proud to present “Hidden Treasures” — a free competition for everyone who enjoys making beautiful images of the night sky using real astronomical data. The competition has some extremely attractive prizes for the lucky winners who produce the most beautiful and original images, including an all expenses paid trip to ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) on Cerro Paranal, in Chile, the world’s most advanced optical telescope. And the winner will have a chance to participate in the nightly VLT observations under the crisp Chilean skies.
Are you ready to dig through this huge collection of images from some of the best telescopes in the world, and reveal its hidden treasures? This is not for the faint-hearted, as many terabytes of data are available, spanning many years, different instruments and technologies. The individual files in the archive are each single exposures, obtained through a single filter. They need to be extensively processed and combined to bring out the beauty hidden in there. Will you compete with the very best astrophotography specialists?
The entries should be submitted via the Flickr group before November 30, 2010.
They will be judged on the bases of their aesthetic and technical qualities, and on their originality. The winners will be announced in December.
The goal is to mine the publicly available ESO Science Archive to select a set of data frames, process them, and assemble them in a final colour or greyscale image. There is no restriction on the number of individual frames combined, on the number of filters — or instruments — you can use. Data processing and enhancing is of course allowed, although altering local details to make aesthetic improvements is not allowed (“painting” in the image); only corrections of defects and blemishes are allowed.
The images submitted should not directly duplicate an existing image available in the ESO galleries. If the submitted image is of a celestial object of which an image is already available in the gallery, then make sure you use data from a different instrument.
A number of very attractive prizes are offered by ESO. The first prize includes an all expenses paid trip to visit ESO's Very Large Telescope, on Cerro Paranal, Chile. The best images will be published world wide on our website.
4th –10th prizes
We are fully aware this is a complex and time consuming challenge. This is reflected in the nature of the prizes. For enquiries about the competition, you can contact us at email@example.com.