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Fishing for Photons


By day, Craig Stark, Ph.D., is a professor of neuroscience who studies memory by trying to pull faint signals out of noisy images of brain scans. By night, Craig is an amateur astrophotographer who tries to pull faint signals out of noisy images of deep sky objects.

Craig is perhaps best known for the software he writes for Stark Labs. He's the author of numerous free or affordable pieces of astrophotography software for the Mac and PC including PHD Guiding, Nebulosity, and DSLR Shutter. He's a frequent contributor here on Cloudy Nights and can also be found in the pages of Astrophotography Insight and Astronomy Technology Today.



Profiling the Long-Exposure Performance of a Ca...

Jul 02 2012 04:03 PM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

Every tool has constraints on how best to use it. This helps us understand a bit more about those built into the Canon DSLRs.

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On the Bench: QHY-10

Jun 16 2012 01:39 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

The QHY10 gives you the size of a typical DSLR sensor, but in a package that gives you a full 16-bits worth of data (vs. 12 or 14 bits), regulated cooling (down to -45C below ambient), very clean electronics, and comes in a package that won’t tax your focuser and is well-suited for Hyperstar imaging. What’s not to like?

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What to do When PHD Guiding isn't Push Here Dummy

May 08 2012 01:16 PM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

I designed PHD Guiding to be as simple as "Push Here Dummy". When everything works, it's great (and quite often that's the case!). But, what do you do when it doesn't work?

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Image Sampling Myths - Part 5

Jan 26 2010 07:51 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

The first thing on the docket is the notion that the Nyquist Theorem (and its sampling limit) applies only to things like one-dimensional audio streams and does not apply to things like

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Image Sampling

Oct 05 2009 08:50 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

We're returning to the issue of signal-to-noise in this installment a bit, but it'll take us a chunk of the column to get there directly. The topic in this round is image sampling and what I want to impress upon readers is that there is a tradeoff here.

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Upgrade Yourself with IP4AP

Sep 14 2009 08:06 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

We're going to take a bit of a break from the series on SNR and explore another side of astrophotography. It's a side that many inclined to think of this as purely technical or as being entirely scientific have can have a tougher time with

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Signal to Noise: Part 3 - Measuring your Camera

Jul 06 2009 06:44 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

Believe it or not, you can get very accurate measurements on your camera with only a minimum of hardware, skills, and time

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Signal to Noise: Understanding it, Measuring it...

May 26 2009 06:54 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

In this installment, we'll talk about the fundamental unit of our image – the pixel. While it may seem like a pretty low bar to set here, understanding the pixel is

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Signal to Noise: Understanding it, Measuring it...

May 01 2009 05:54 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

You've probably heard it before and if you continue to read my columns here, you'll hear it a hundred more times -- astrophotography is all about signal-to-noise ratios (SNR). But, what does that mean and can such a blanket statement be true?

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Introduction to Fishing For Photons

May 01 2009 05:04 AM | Craig in Fishing for Photons

Before we dive into the meat of things here with the first real entry, it's probably worth spending a bit of time introducing myself and introducing this column

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