Astrophotography Software: What to Look for

Astrophotography software is used to process images taken of the sky and celestial objects. There are a number of types of software available, ranging from general graphics software to more field specific programs. The following are considerations when looking for the right software for astrophotography.

Camera Control

Some types of software allow the user to control how the camera takes the photograph of the sky by changing the functions and settings. This gives the user better control on the shutter opening and ISO. With some programs bundled with the camera, the only limitation is controlling the exposure for more than 30 seconds. A number of third party software can enable this feature by controlling the camera through the bulb port cable.

Automatic Image Acquisition

This instructs the program to automatically take photographs of the sky based on the user’s instructions. The images will be combined or stacked later during the image processing stage. For instance, the user can set the program to control the camera to take 25 images of the sky every minutes using ISO 1600 with a 10 second pause in between shots, giving the system enough time to download each of the shots.

Image Calibration, Alignment and Stacking

When it comes to astrophotography, it helps if the software has the three functions. Stacking involves piling numerous images to improve the master image’s color and contrast. Alignment lines up the images correctly, while image calibration involves a combination of the two. General graphic editing programs are capable of doing the same functions, but processing becomes a tedious process after several frames.