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So many programs !

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#1 Leerox

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 12:45 PM

Hi. Newbie on here. Had my first imaging session last night so i have a whole lot of images, lights, darks ,etc on my camera . Iv been playing with various software and seem to have built a collection on my laptop . Just wondering what peoples go to programs are or what one out the ones i have would you use??
Pipp,Autostakkart,dss,Registax6,Gimp2,Siril
I was practicing using pipp first then registax6

#2 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 05:21 PM

What are the images of?  Processing lunar or planetary images is a lot different than deep sky stuff (nebulas, galaxies, and the like).



#3 Leerox

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 05:39 PM

Trying deep sky really .

#4 michael8554

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 07:07 AM

Most of your list are for Planetary Imaging eg PIPP = Planetary Imaging PreProcessor

 

GIMP2 is for final corrections to DSO or Planetary images.

 

DSS and SIRIL are for DSO images


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#5 TelescopeGreg

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Posted 14 June 2021 - 12:26 PM

Trying deep sky really .

As Michael noted, most of that is for Planetary imaging, where you take a high-speed movie of the target and the software filters through the thousands of frames to pick out the ones where the atmosphere is momentarily stationary.  The tools can be used with some success on deep sky images (I've done it), but they usually create more frustration than they're worth

 

Contrasting with Planetary imaging, Deep sky imaging involves taking a relatively few, and exceedingly long exposures, then stacking the lot in order to improve the precious little signal to noise ratio.  Start with Deep Sky Stacker, loading the images according to the type (lights, darks, flats, dark-flats), and look at its recommendations for the stacking parameters.  Lots to learn from the tool.  The result will probably look a bit dark, but that's actually a good sign.

 

You can play with the sliders on the back end (post stacking) of DSS to get a feel for the processing phase which comes next.  Better than the sliders is to look at some more purpose-built image processing software such as StarTools.  Some prefer Astro Pixel Processor for both the stacking and processing, but I found it confusing.  Photoshop and GIMP can work, but both require a lot of experience with the tool.  Pixinsight is probably the top astrophotography tool, with a long learning curve (wall to some), and a steep price tag.



#6 Leerox

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 10:49 AM

Thankyou, very helpful, have to say i really like the look of dss so far .

#7 Leerox

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 10:56 AM

Thankyou, very helpful, have to say i really like the look of dss so far .

#8 airscottdenning

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 12:19 PM

For deep sky most people use SequenceGeneratorPro, NINA, or KStars to control the mount and cameras, do guiding, capture images, etc.

 

On the back end (processing after you've finished your captures) most use PixInsight, though there are alternatives. 

 

DSS is just for calibrating and stacking. After that you're going to need something for stretching, noise reduction, deconvolution, color balance, etc. It used to be most people did all that in PhotoShop but that now requires a monthly subscription. 



#9 Bobo666

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Posted 16 June 2021 - 10:33 PM

For deep sky most people use SequenceGeneratorPro, NINA, or KStars to control the mount and cameras, do guiding, capture images, etc.

 

Do they? What about APT, Voyager, ASTAP etc. 



#10 airscottdenning

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 01:07 AM

Do they? What about APT, Voyager, ASTAP etc. 

These programs are not interchangeable. Depending on what you want to do, you need software for each of several categories.

 

Maybe you're just taking photos with a DSLR on a tripod. In that case you don't need much software.

 

But if you want to learn to stack hundreds of long exposure subframes with a cooled CMOS camera, track objects for hours with autoguiding, subtract flats and darks, and combine the results into gorgeous color images you will need several pieces of software to handle different tasks.

 

You can certainly pick and choose and some programs do more than one category of task. What I'm suggesting is that you become familiar with the categories. Strengths and weakness depend on your preference for OS (Windows, Mac, linux), the  type of camera (DSLR or dedicated astro-camera), your scope, focal length, mount, whether you image from back yard or at remote sites, etc.

 

Some useful categories with examples:

 

1) Equipment control and capture: SGP, NINA, Voyager, KStars (pointing, tracking, guiding, focusing, exposing)

2) Image calibration with darks & flats and preliminary stacking: DSS, ASTAP

3) Postprocessing (stretching, noise reduction, deconvolution): Photoshop or GIMP

 

You can combine (1) with a planetarium program to help you locate and plan your imaging. Examples include KStars, TheSkyX, and CCD CIel. Most of these can do capture 

 

Nowadays many people combine categories 2 and 3 using dedicated astroimaging software like PixInsight or AstroArt.

 

There are some programs like MaximDL and TheSkyX that purport to do categories 1 and 2, but in my opinion this approach has fallen out of fashion and most people use separate programs for capturing and processing their images. These steps are separate in time. You capture at night under the stars and you might want to run capture software on a low-powered machine with batteries. You process in the light of day indoors and might want a much more powerful computer.

 

There's also lunar and planetary imaging (as opposed to deep sky nebulae and galaxies). This is completely different and uses high-speed video instead of long exposures. Very different hardware and software.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Scott



#11 Leerox

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 02:25 AM

Hey Scott. Thanks for the input . I am indeed imaging with a Nikon d750 , 200-500 f5.6 lens and sky guider pro.
I captured my first images Saturday ( 25@30sec iso 500 )pointing at ngc7000 and 25@30sec iso 1000 pointing at M51. I took darks as well on the night for both inages and flats and bias frames the next day. I stacked each of them last night with Dss which was pleasing, and then only had an hr to try and bring some detail out. I tried gimp, registax wavelets, but got more joy with Siril . Saying this i cant say i can see any nebulae , clusters or nothing but masses of stars?? They are quite sharp , . I will be updating eventually, whether its a ccd camera or telescope im not sure ..? any advice on trying to bring out the images i aimed for wiuld be great.. and if i need longer exp, etc .
Much thanks

#12 Leerox

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 02:25 AM

Hey Scott. Thanks for the input . I am indeed imaging with a Nikon d750 , 200-500 f5.6 lens and sky guider pro.
I captured my first images Saturday ( 25@30sec iso 500 )pointing at ngc7000 and 25@30sec iso 1000 pointing at M51. I took darks as well on the night for both inages and flats and bias frames the next day. I stacked each of them last night with Dss which was pleasing, and then only had an hr to try and bring some detail out. I tried gimp, registax wavelets, but got more joy with Siril . Saying this i cant say i can see any nebulae , clusters or nothing but masses of stars?? They are quite sharp , . I will be updating eventually, whether its a ccd camera or telescope im not sure ..? any advice on trying to bring out the images i aimed for wiuld be great.. and if i need longer exp, etc .
Much thanks

#13 Leerox

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 02:25 AM

Hey Scott. Thanks for the input . I am indeed imaging with a Nikon d750 , 200-500 f5.6 lens and sky guider pro.
I captured my first images Saturday ( 25@30sec iso 500 )pointing at ngc7000 and 25@30sec iso 1000 pointing at M51. I took darks as well on the night for both inages and flats and bias frames the next day. I stacked each of them last night with Dss which was pleasing, and then only had an hr to try and bring some detail out. I tried gimp, registax wavelets, but got more joy with Siril . Saying this i cant say i can see any nebulae , clusters or nothing but masses of stars?? They are quite sharp , . I will be updating eventually, whether its a ccd camera or telescope im not sure ..? any advice on trying to bring out the images i aimed for wiuld be great.. and if i need longer exp, etc .
Much thanks

#14 Leerox

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 02:26 AM

Hey Scott. Thanks for the input . I am indeed imaging with a Nikon d750 , 200-500 f5.6 lens and sky guider pro.
I captured my first images Saturday ( 25@30sec iso 500 )pointing at ngc7000 and 25@30sec iso 1000 pointing at M51. I took darks as well on the night for both inages and flats and bias frames the next day. I stacked each of them last night with Dss which was pleasing, and then only had an hr to try and bring some detail out. I tried gimp, registax wavelets, but got more joy with Siril . Saying this i cant say i can see any nebulae , clusters or nothing but masses of stars?? They are quite sharp , . I will be updating eventually, whether its a ccd camera or telescope im not sure ..? any advice on trying to bring out the images i aimed for wiuld be great.. and if i need longer exp, etc .
Much thanks

#15 airscottdenning

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Posted 17 June 2021 - 09:17 AM

Sounds like you're off to a great start.

 

You've done the first two of the three categories of things I discussed in my post: you've captured frames on your camera and then you've stacked them.  But now you have to process the result. 

 

Your data are linear, meaning the pixels in your image are proportional to the amount of light collected by the camera chip. They're dark because you are shooting a dark target -- the night sky!  

 

To see the nebula in NGC 7000 you need to stretch the data, make it nonlinear. That is, you boost the values of dark pixels preferentially.  You can do this in many different programs. If you've already got photoshop for your daytime hobby, that will work fine. Siril is probably better, but I have no experience with it.

 

Here's a link to an article by Jerry Lodriguss about this topic: 

https://skyandtelesc...stretched-data/

 

Good luck!

Scott



#16 MikeECha

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 06:51 PM

Trying deep sky really .

You need a planetarium, a plate solver, a guider and an image session control app. 

 

For a Windows/ASCOM environment I suggest Stellarium, ASTAP, PHD2 and NINA (APT as alternative to NINA) respectively. All free (except maybe APT), open source with active development.

 

This is my combo and I love it.


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#17 airscottdenning

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Posted 19 June 2021 - 08:38 PM

Many people also lump (planetarium, plate solver, guider, and session control) into a single program. That program could be TheSkyX, CCDCiel, or KStars for example. 

 

But then you still need to process images, which is what the original post was asking about. This includes calibration, alignment, stacking, and outlier rejection. Like many people, the OP has tried DeepSkyStacker for this but still can't see the North America Nebula in his integrated image.

 

So he also needs something like Photoshop, GIMP, or PixelMator Pro. 

 

In practice it is very popular to combine these last two steps with PixInsight or Astro Pixel Processor.

 

It is true that we have a wealth of options available! 

 

But at minimum you need software to gather your data and software to process your data.

 

These two classes of software typically run on completely different computers: (1) a cheaper machine out at the scope that doesn't use much electricity and (2) a more powerful machine indoors to preprocess (calibrate & stack) and post process (Denoise, deconvolve, stretch, and enhance) the the image.




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