Hidden in the Hubble Space Telescope’s huge data archives are truly breathtaking images that have never been seen in public.

Thousands of stunning images obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have fueled the general public’s imagination for more than 20 years. But few people realize that this cornucopia of astronomical wonders represents only a tiny fraction of all the imagery collected by the Earth-orbiting telescope. In fact, an enormous archive of Hubble’s image data has never been seen outside of the community of scientists who use the telescope.

The European Space Agency (ESA) hopes to change that with its 2012 Hubble's Hidden Treasures Competition. It's intended to continue the success of last year's competition involving archived images from the European Southern Observatory.


The ESA invites the public to explore the raw images produced with Hubble on the Hubble Legacy Archive, and adjust the color and contrast using the provided online tools. You can then submit your result to the Hidden Treasures Contest Flickr group for a chance to win an Apple iPod Touch.

For amateurs with a bit more experience, you can download your favorite FITS files and process them using FITS Liberator by ESO/ESA, and NASA. Submit your best results to the Hidden Treasures Image Processing Contest Flickr group for a chance to win an Apple Ipad. The best images will be featured as future Hubble pictures of the week.

Both parts of the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures competition close on May 31, 2012. Good luck!


Image of Jon Hanford

Jon Hanford

March 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

The winner of last years "Hidden Treasures" ESO contest won a trip to see the four 8-meter scopes on Paranal. I was hoping the winner of this contest might win a trip to the HST! What a view that would be.

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Image of Oana


March 30, 2012 at 2:54 am

Thank you Sean for spreading the word on the competition!

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