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Thread: Best beginner software for AP processing?

  1. #1
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    Default Re: Best beginner software for AP processing?



    There are three main paths you can pursue in astrophotography (AP): Long exposure deep sky objects (DSO), planetary, and video. As most video astrophotographers don't spend hours doing the post processing thing we'll exit them from the discussion. That leaves DSO and planetary astroimaging. Both of these subsets of astrophotography use different software (mostly). So it is important that you distinguish between which endeavor upon which you are inquiring. So to confuse matters even more, here is the lastest list of AP software titles that cover both subsets:

    • Backyard EOS - for camera control, easily the best $$ you'll spend on AP software.
    • Stellarium - free software that lets you input your coordinates and will show you when objects will be up and at what time.
    • DeepSkyStacker - for stacking multiple exposures together into one image.
    • StarTools - post-processing software written by /u/verylongtimelurker
    • PixInsight - post-processing software
    • Photoshop CS2 - free from Adobe but requires you to make an Adobe ID
    • Registax - planetary video processing/stacking software
    • Autostakkert! 2 - planetary video stacking software
    • Microsoft ICE - mosaic/composite image stitching software
    • FITS Liberator - FIT -> TIFF file converter
    • Virtual Dub - video converting software, requires plugin for .MOV -> .AVI
    • Astrotortilla - calibrate your GoTo tracking mount, GoTo any target with arcsecond accuracy and measure your polar alignment error
    • PHD1 PHD2 - guiding software to correct mount errors for longer exposures.
    • PIPP - Planetary imaging pre-processor, good for shaving down file sizes with cropped, stabilized planetary shots
    • iMerge - Used for one-click image stitching with border feathering & Histogram
    • StarStax - used for creating star trail images
    • Lykeos - free planetary stacker (OSx)
    • EQMOD - a suite of open source applications that can provide an alternative to the hand controller
    • Sequence Generator Pro - image capture suite for astrophotography.
    • SharpCap 2 - Flexible image capturing software, records in raw, uncompressed files
    • FireCapture - Simple image capturing software that re-sizes video resolution automatically & has auto align & dark frame reduction features
    • Winjupos - planetary processing software for derotation/mapping/planetary moon alignment
    • digiCamControl - Free camera control for those with Nikon DSLRs.
    • PEMPro - periodic error correction, polar alignment and backlash using your CCD Camera or Webcam
    • Sofortbild - Free capture control for mac + nikon.
    • DSLR Shutter - Free sequence capture control for Mac/PC + lots of DSLRs. You need a shutter control interface, like this one in order to use this with a nikon however.
    • Nebulosity 3 - $80 capture and processing software for Mac/PC. Supports a bunch of Canon DSLRs and astro cams.
    • MicroObservatory - A piece of software that is meant to be used to process images from MicroObservatory.org, it's not really good for much else, but it does a damned good job of teaching people the basics of processing RGB FITS data.
    • MaximDL - Great CCD Camera control software and decent processing power too.
    • CCDOPS - The software that comes with sBig CCD cameras also available separately.
    • Astronomer Control Panel - Remote imaging software.
    • CCD Stack - Stacking software for CCD images
    • SkySolve - Plate Solving software.
    • CCD Imaging Calculators - For calculating all things related to CCD imaging (FOV/pixel size/etc)
    • Gemini Controller Software - For those that use Gemini controlled mounts
    • Astro Planner - for planning/logging/visualizing astrophotography sessions
    • GIMP - post processing/image editing software
    • Lin Guider - guiding for Linux
    • sbigControl - relatively cheap sbig camera control program. can drive sbig adaptive optics devices.
    • AstroImager - AstroImager is a powerful, but easy to use image capture application for the astrophotography. (OSX)
    • AstroTelescope - AstroTelescope, is a simple planetarium and telescope control application for the astrophotography. (OSX)
    • AstroGuider - AstroGuider is a simple to use guiding application for your telescope mount. It can be calibrated semi-automatically or manually, you do not need to take care about camera orientation or pixel scale. (OSX)

    Plugins for Photoshop:


    Plugins for GIMP:


    The point I'm trying to make is what Scott was saying, you pick a title and you try it and see if it meets your needs as so many titles do the same thing. I find that it is always best to start with the free titles and see what results you can achieve. Most of the time for beginners, the free titles work remarkably well. I know this is kind of information overload, but your question is much more complicated to answer than to ask.

    Cheers and clear skies,
    JT
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    Default Re: Best beginner software for AP processing?

    There is a discussion thread that contains the post from above. If you would like to discuss this topic please join the discussion here:

    Best beginner software for AP processing?
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    Default Re: Best beginner software for AP processing?

    And here are a few others that somehow got missed on the above list:

    Cartes du Ciel/Skychart - free plantarium program, will also control your mount.
    Skytools3 - software for planning your observing/imaging sessions, will also control your mount.
    ASCOM - Middleware software with drivers for letting other applications control your camera, mount, focuser, dome etc...
    C2A - Planetarium Software - Computer Aided Astronomy (C2A) is an easy to use general purpose Planetarium software with many functions.

    Cheers,
    JT
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    Main: C-stron CPC1100 #2 Scope: 8" f/7.5 Dob mounted Newt AP Scopes: TPO 6" RC f/9 & ES 80mm f/6 APO G&G Scope: Meade 102mm f/7.8 goto Guide Scopes: 70 & 80mm fracs Mounts: C-stron AVX CGEM & GT Alt-Az, Cameras: Canon T3i 2, ASI120MC Binos: 10X502,10.5X70,15X702, 25X100 EPs: ES: 21 100°, 30 82° X-Cels: 9,12,18,25 Clubs: RCA & HAS
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