Wessex Astronomical Society


Astronomical Imaging - Some notes on useful software

1. Lunar and Planetary Imaging with a video camera.

This is the easiest form of imaging after simple "point camera at sky". The video camera may be a webcam, a dedicated astronomical version of a webcam (eg. Celestron Nextimage, Orion Starshoot, Meade LPI) or a DSLR camera with video capability.

Use software supplied with camera to capture video sequence (usually an .avi file). As a minimum use Registax to select and stack avi frames to create a still image and process that in an image-processing program such as PSP, GIMP or Photoshop. The following gives a more complete list of software that may be of use. Email any questions to

2. Deep-sky imaging using a DSLR or a CCD camera

The main differences between use of these two camera types are firstly that DSLRs are colour cameras while CCD cameras are either colour or mono, being used with a filter wheel in the latter case. Secondly in a CCD camera the sensor is cooled to reduce the noise built up during long exposure times. The long exposures required for deep sky imaging are normally obtained by stacking multiple shorter exposures. Long exposure also normally requires that the telescope mount is guided by means of a second guide camera and associated guiding software. Finally, the individual image frames may be "calibrated" using bias frames, dark frames and flat-field frames created separately.

Additional Useful Software resources

3. Software for subsequent processing of all types of astro-images