The technology of detecting signals from space continues to improve, and with it,  we discover new objects in the universe. Over the past 50 years, we have seen many new discoveries by using new wavebands such as radio waves, X-rays, infra-red etc.

In the past 10 years especially, we have been able to expand this into the time domain, i.e. by taking data at different times, we are discovering the universe changes at timescales we can observe. Exoplanets are just one example of this. However, adding the time-domain has increased the challenges in data storage, analysis and visualization.

Traditionally astronomy is a field where amateur astronomers have been able to contribute to many discoveries, and in this Hackathon we want to give the public a chance to form teams with professional astronomers and contribute to the computing domain.

This hackathon will present teams with the challenge of developing applications in time-domain astronomy. We want to see new approaches to presenting, analyzing or understanding problems in this area. Teams may present new analyses/approaches or may provide novel new ways of understanding existing solutions/problems. Your product could be a proof-of-concept app, a plugin to existing code, a storyboard design, anything that embodies creative hacking around the Time Domain Astronomy theme!

The City of College Park has graciously made $1000 in prize money available for the top  three hackers.  Vigilante Coffee Company is donating coffee to keep you fueled up. Google can provide up to $300 per person in ​cloud credits to help you hack​.  Coding  experience is not necessary because you can join a team with coders. All you need is a creative mind!

Although you will be forming teams on Saturday, you can look for ideas to work on in the Discussions tab, or add your own.


Anybody can enter; you just have to show up! We recommend you bring a laptop, and form teams based on our first hour discussions, personal interests, choice of OS or tools, etc. This hackathon assumes you are present at the team forming. You can work throughout this great building (though at 7pm we will have to vacate it) or wander off campus, but the final presentations should be ready by Sunday 11am for judging. Winners should be announced by noon.

You can use any coding language (or combination thereof) and any OS.


You can either create a new app or enhance an existing app. Of course it would be nice if you can show how the app works in the end presentation. For the end presentation we suggest you use the laptop. Storyboarding is allowed too, but it has to be made clear to the judges that you have a product that will work, but just lacked the time to implement during this Hackathon weekend.

Before the final presentation each team needs to submit a  single graphic (jpg or png) that the jury can use to identify teams.

Hackathon Sponsors


$1,000 in prizes

College Park

We will have 3 prizes: $500, $350 and $150 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners. The 1st prize winner is invited to present the winning app at ADASS during the Time Domain Astronomy session on Wednesday 11am where the prize will be handed over (again).

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:

How to enter

We will  have access to the google cloud and can make available up to $300 worth of computing to each participant. Please contact us before the start of the hackathon.

Although it is recommended you use devpost to register yourself for the hackathon (so we know how much coffee to get), you can take a risk and just show up on Saturday morning. We are however limiting the number of participants to 100!


Prof Gerbs Bauer

Prof Gerbs Bauer
U of Maryland

Ada Nebot

Ada Nebot
IVOA / CDS (France)

Nuria Lorente

Nuria Lorente
ADASS / AAO (Australia)

Prof. Andy Harris

Prof. Andy Harris
U of Maryland

Alice Allen

Alice Allen

Dr. Brian Thomas

Dr. Brian Thomas

Judging Criteria

  • Newly Designed
    If you design a new app (as opposed to enhancing an existing) it needs to be clearly described. Story boards or Mockups can be used in the final presentation.
  • Existing Enhanced
    If you enhance an existing app, you will clearly need to show what the app used to do and do now. If the enhancement does not work yet, show with a mockup how it will work.

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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