A few months ago I started work on a new stacking software for planetary system objects (moon, sun, planets), based on state-of-the-art software technology. I just finished work on a prototype. It includes all software components needed to stack a video or a batch of still images. The only missing piece of software is a graphical user interface. The whole source code is publicly available (Open Source) on Github. I also plan to publish all details of the algorithms used.
So far three software products are available for stacking: Registax, AviStack2, and AutoStakkert!3. The first two of them have not been updated for more than eight years, so the only active project seems to be AutoStakkert!3. I, for example, loved to use AviStack2, but since I moved to Windows 10 it does not open my input files anymore.
We should all be grateful to the authors of the existing programs for the many hours they spent on developing the code and making the executables available to everyone. I see, hwover, a problem in the missing choice between different software solutions and the dependence on a single program author. To overcome this dependency, I decided to start the new open-source project. Since none of the authors so far published their source codes, let alone the underlying algorithms, this was somewhat painful. Fortunately, writing a stacking program is no "rocket science". It took me a few months of my spare time to come up with the abovementioned prototype.
In the tests I performed so far the program shows the same image quality as AutoStakkert!3, but I'm sure that further adjustments will be necessary when the code is tested with many more examples. The prototype is written in Python, so it is not fully optimized in terms of computing speed and RAM usage. Actually, at the moment it's about two times slower than AutoStakkert!3 on my laptop. I didn't decide yet on the final choice of programming language and GUI toolkit. Optimal use of compute ressources, code maintainability and user friendliness will be the main criteria.
With the following example I will illustrate the current image quality. The video was taken with my ASI120MM-S mounted to a C11. The air was quite turbulent, so there was a lot of local movement in the video to test the multi-point alignment. I stacked 10% out of 1795 frames and sharpened the resulting image with wavelets in AviStack2. This is the full image:
To compare with AutoStakkert!3, I also ran the same video with AS!3, using a similar number of alignment points (about 450) and sharpening with the same wavelet settings. Here is the result:
In the next post I will include two enlarged detail views to better see potential differences in resolution. (I cannot include them here because of the upload limit per post.)
How will the project continue? Well, so far I wrote the whole prototype code myself. In the end, however, the project should become a community activity where other people can contribute. The actual code should be written by professional software developers. A friend from Danmark already provided some code to import SER video files which should be merged with my code soon. Being the director of a software research institute at the German Aerospace Center, I hope to find some help there. :-) Other volunteers are welcome!
"Stay tuned" for more details as the project continues.
All the best,
Edited by Rolf, 06 January 2019 - 02:39 PM.