Processing software

This is where one of the big "issues" crops up. Even if you have a color camera, simply capturing a few frames aren't going to give you the detail you see from others photos.

First, you need to determine what software you are going to use to capture your images. There are paid and free versions that do this, as well as systems that can be installed on Raspberry Pi's or a NUC (for attachment to the scope assembly itself) or even laptops/desktops to assist in capturing images. Currently I use 2 Raspberry Pi 4's and have installed StellarMate OS on them. You can do the same thing using Astroberry, which is free, but you do not get the nice IOS/Android app that allows you to connect to the RPi.

Some free examples of capture software are
SharpCap
FireCapture (targeted at planetary)

A free software for the RPi to allow it to do not only capture, but tracking and selecting your targets is
AstroBerry
Free package to use on an Intel based system is
N.I.N.A.
KStars/EKOS


A paid package (and what I currently use) for the RPi is
Stellarmate OS

The very first step (after capture of course) is stacking.
There are a ton of stacking programs available (many are listed in the Resources area).
A few examples of free stacking software are:

ASTAP
Siril
AutoStakkert!
Registax
DeepSkyStacker

Then you get into the paid softwares (listed in the Resource area also).
I currently have Advanced Pixel Processor (APP) and now that I'm learning it I like it, even at the cost.


Next, we will enter the area of processing stacked images.
When you first see your captured data, you aren't going to be greatly impressed. VERY little shows up until those images have been stretched.

The pretty much acknowledged "giant" is PixInSight. It's a great package, but it does SO much that it's hard to learn and will take you awhile.
This is an area that I am still learning and cannot speak much upon yet. I do like PixInSight, but it is somewhat intimidating.
A very base process is for my narrow band captures is:

Script -> Batch Processing -> WBP (Weighted Batch Processing) - this processes all your images into several different states, the main you will be interested in using are the Masters
Masked Stretch (ran on each image, click to highlight the image then the apply option - square box)
Linear fit (use the Ha channel as your base channel for this then click on the SII and OIII and use the little arrow in the bottom left of the option to apply to that image)

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 12.31.03 AM.png


The triangle in the lower left is what you should select after you have highlighted your SII or OII image.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 12.31.18 AM.png


Channel Combination (I use the Hubble Palette Red->SII Green-Ha Blue->OIII)
SCNR and choose Green and remove it from the photo you get from the above combined.

Then if you want to, you can play around with the Curves & Transformation process to fine tune the colors.

The process is basically the same with it for LRGB, with the exception you have to add the Luminance channel in. Learning PixInSight is WAY to detailed to go into here, but the above was the base first-line process I learned to actually be able to get images out of the camera.

This image was captured in Ha/SII,OIII.

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