This JavaScript sample allows the amateur astronomer to efficiently display ultra-high resolution wide angle images on their web site.
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LICENSE V1 checkin Jan 10, 2017

Astro Image Viewer Sample

This JavaScript sample allows the amateur astronomer to efficiently display ultra-high resolution wide angle images on their web site. The images can be annotated with other images; for example, deep space objects taken with more powerful telescopes or with different instruments. Images and their annotations are specified through configuration files, making it easy to integrate astronomical images into content management systems such as WordPress.

The sample builds upon various technologies including OpenSeadragon for deep zoom images, and Annotorius for image annotations.

Example in use

An example of the sample in use can be seen at:

This image of the southern night sky includes many famous deep space objects that can only be observed from the southern hemisphere. Those deep sky objects include NGC 3372 (Carina Nebula), NGC 3532 (Wishing Well Cluster), IC 2944 (Running Chicken Nebula) and IC 2602 (Southern Pleiades).

Each image has an article describing the object including how it was taken and how the raw data was processed. This particular image is a mosaic of 12 separate images taken with a wide field telescope (Takahashi FSQ 106 ED with an SBIG STL-11000M camera) rented from (Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia). Given its large size (80 megapixels), the image is an ideal candidate for rendering with OpenSeadragon!

Click the full screen button on the image’s toolbar to explore the image in more detail. Use either your mouse’s scroll button, two-fingered scroll on your touchpad or the zoom in / out buttons on the toolbar. As you zoom into the image, OpenSeadragon loads in additional image detail on demand.

Most of the deep sky objects in the image were imaged using a more powerful telescope with a narrower field of view and / or using narrow band filters. (Taking the whole image with the more powerful telescope would have been prohibitively expensive!) Hover over an object (for example, NGC 3372 (Carina Nebula)) in the top right corner) and click one of the additional images. The technology to display the annotations is provided by Annotorius. In this usage scenario, the user is not annotating the images but instead the annotations are added programmatically on image rendering.

Each of the images on this web site are displayed using this JavaScript sample. The site was developed using WordPress with Elegant Theme’s Divi builder and theme. Where an image and its article is required (e.g. a simple JavaScript call inserts the required content into the page.

Dependencies and licenses

Sample License

This sample is distributed under the MIT license (


How to use this sample

Once you have the setup sample it should look like

Step 1: Make a copy of this this repository on your local file system

Step 2: Download the dependencies

Review and download the following dependencies into the appropriate folder into the folder {DownloadLocation}\astroimageviewer\extern\script

Step 3: Upload the files to your web site

Copy the folder {DownloadLocation}\astroimagerviewer to the base directory of your web site

Step 4:

Open the following URL in a browser http://yourwebsite.url/astroimageviewer/example.html

Extending this sample


The individual images are stored in folders in {DownloadLocation}\astroimageviewer\assets\images

Each folder contains

  • A 100 * 100 pixel thumb nail (100.jpg)
  • The source image (Image.jpg)
  • The HTML for the article (Article.hml). When programmatically including HTML into a web page, take care to ensure it comes from a trusted source. Future work could migrate this content to a simple database and the sanitized text rendered on demand.
  • Optionally a Deep Zoom Image (DZI) version in the image stored in the DZI folder. The images in the sample were created with the Deep Zoom Composer ( The tool is straightforward to use. On the last step (Export) the following options: Output type = Silverlight Deep Zoom, Export options = Export as a composition (single image).

Image Data

The image data is stored in a lightweight fashion using a JavaScript function {DownloadLocation}\astroimageviewer\assets\imageData.js

This JS files contains a couple of examples with an explanation how to include other images. Again, future work could migrate this data into a database but the sample intent was to provide a simple script with minimal dependences on the target machine.

Annotation Data

Again a lightweight structure is used – see {DownloadLocation}\astroimageviewer\assets\NGC7000Annotations.js

Each annotation consists of a description, an image id for the annotation and the coordinates of where to mark the annotation in the parent image.

 "Cygnus wall": {
        geometry: { height: 0.2788, width: 0.2747, x :0.0069, y:0.3375 },
        LeftAnnotationID: 2}

Tip: guessing the correct coordinates for the annotation will be tricky! In astroImageViewer.js set

var allowAnnotationCreation = true;

Use the UI to create the annotations, then enter the browser debug mode and at the console type


You should then be able to inspect the geometry values for the newly created annotation.

Adding an annotation in your page

The file {DownloadLocation}\astroimageviewer\example.html has a stripped down minimal version of how to do this.

First, create a DIV where the image and article need to be on the page:

<div id = "osd_panel">


Next load in JQuery. Tip: loading JQuery from a CDN e.g. Google will speed up script execution.

<script src="/astroimageviewer/extern/script/JQuery/jquery-3.1.1.min.js"></script>

Next load in the data and script. Tip: this script can be wrapped into a helper script to make it easier to integrate into your content management system


$('head').append ('<script src="/astroimageviewer/script/astroImageViewer.js"/>');
$('head').append ('<script src="/astroimageviewer/assets/imageData.js"/>');
$('head').append ('<script src="/astroimageviewer/assets/NGC7000Annotations.js"/>');
viewDZIWithAnnotations( '#osd_panel', 
astroImageData, 0, NGC7000Annotations);

The call to viewDZIWithAnnotations requires a tag indicating where in the page to insert the image and article, the image data, the index of the image to view and the annotation data.

Alternatively if the annotations are not required, image #1 can be rendered this call

viewDZI('#osd_panel', astroImageData, 1);

If you have an image (#2) without a Deep Zoom Image then it can be rendered with

viewDZI('#osd_panel', astroImageData, 2);

Known issues

Currently Annotorius does not support selection of the annotation on mobile. On these devices, the script enumerates the annotations into a combo box in the toolbar.

Image Credits

The sample images were taken with and processed with PixInsight, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop.