Astronomy Image Processing Software For Mac

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Resources

Astrophotography resources include software, plugins, websites and generally great information that can take your skills to the next level. The right software and tools can save you from unnecessary headaches, and help you enjoy the art of astrophotography on new levels.

It is important to maximize your time under the stars and make sure that you give yourself the best chance of successful results. I have listed many of the software applications I use on a daily basis for capturing and processing deep-sky astrophotography images. Some of these programs are free, most are not.

This software is an open source program used for image processing. This can be used for a variety of work like rescaling, cropping, gamma correction, color balancing as well as chroma keying. This uses script files and it uses technical image processing which requires both. Cyanogen Imaging® MaxIm DLTM is the complete integrated solution for all of your astronomical imaging needs. Whether you are collecting and analyzing science data, or making beautiful portraits of the night sky, MaxIm DL Pro includes everything you need. Product levels available: MaxIm LT ($199 SBIG camera control, webcams, and basic processing only), MaxIm DL IP ($299 image processing only. Everything what you will need for ASI camera control, imaging, guiding and processing at one place! Windows, MAC and Linux USB drivers, ASCOM drivers, latest firmware and camera control and processing software for all ZWO devices. If you have any questions please feel free to Contact Us. We will try to answer your query as soon as possible!

Before spending your hard-earned money on software for astrophotography, it is best to research the product. If it is something that can provide value to your processing workflow by saving you time, or help you produce better results, then it is well worth the money.

For example, the “Astro Photography Tool” image acquisition software can help you maximize your imaging time on a clear night. It allows you to automate your astrophotography session by setting a sequence of exposures. It can also control your telescope filter wheel, motorized focuser, and much more.

Below, you will Astrophotography Resources for:

  • Image Capture Software
  • Image Processing Software
  • Photoshop Plugins and Filters
  • Planning Your Imaging Session
  • Polar Alignment
  • Where to Buy Equipment

If you are brand new to astronomy and are ready to take your first step towards developing your passion for the night sky, I have put together some simple guidelines to follow when deciding on which telescope to buy.

I would not recommend jumping straight into astrophotography without first learning the sky and experiencing what it is like to spend a considerable amount of time outside with your telescope. For more information, visit the “Buying Your First Telescope” page.

One of the greatest elements of astrophotography is the amazing online community of imagers willing to help beginners. This is how I learned much of what I know now, and I am happy to assist beginners learn how to photograph the night sky.

YouTube has been an amazing astrophotography resource for me as well, thanks to incredible channels such as Chuck’s Astrophotography.

The telescope I currently use for most of my Astrophotography images is the Sky-Watcher Esprit 100. I have used many different telescopes for astrophotography, but I prefer the imaging performance and consistency of an apochromatic refractor. If you would like to see a complete list of the astrophotography equipment I use for deep-sky imaging, please visit the Equipment Page.

The astrophotography setup pictured above produces sharp wide-field views of the night sky. The 550mm focal length of the telescope is a versatile distance for both large nebulae and medium-sized deep-sky targets.

Below, is an example image captured using this setup, and what you can expect to achieve using the software resources mentioned on this page (Astro Photography Tool, DeepSkyStacker, Adobe Photoshop).

The Cave Nebula in Cepheus (Captured using Astro Photography Tool).

Capturing images outside is just 1 part of the astrophotography process. The work that takes place after your images have been taken is equally important. Having the right tools and software at your disposal will allow you to develop a workflow you are comfortable with.

Choose software that will enhance your overall experience and make you want to get out an image as much as possible. There is a solution for every headache! (Except clouds)

Software for Deep-Sky Astrophotography

These are some of the astrophotography based applications I use on a daily base to capture and process my images. Having the right tools can help you produce better images, and save time during processing. Most of the software I mention below is not free.

Before I dive into the specific software applications used for controlling your camera and telescope, have a look at the ASCOM initiative and learn how the ASCOM architecture is used in many astronomy-related devices. The INDI Library is another collection of programs designed to control astronomical equipment from filter wheels to observatory domes.

With so much time and energy spent capturing those precious light frames, you owe it to yourself to have the opportunity to make your final photo a masterpiece! Personally, I would highly recommend the small investment to greatly improve your astrophotos.

Acquisition Software

There are many software applications available to control your camera and automate your imaging sessions, including:

Investing in software that allows you to enjoy capturing and processing deep sky images will allow you to focus on why you got started in astrophotography in the first place. The best astrophotography capture software is one that is reliable, easy to use, and supports a wide variety of equipment. Once you have become comfortable with the interface, your imaging sessions will involve less trial-and-error and more exposure time on your subject.

Astro Photography Tool (APT)

I began using Astro Photography Tool (APT) in April 2017. I was looking for an alternative to Sequence Generator Pro to control my CCD astrophotography sessions. I am delighted to say that APT is a fantastic and affordable choice for both CCD and Canon DSLR imagers.

This software offers much more than just camera control, such as plate solving, automatic dithering, and more. Some of my favorite features of Astro Photography Tool are the Cooling Aid, and Flats Aid.

I was able to successfully capture Light Frames, Dark Frames, Bias Frames, and Flat Frames my very first time out with APT. This software integrates with PHD2 Guiding to handle matters like dithering between each image exposure.

Connecting a dedicated astronomy camera is straight forward, and I have never had any issues when connecting hardware using ASCOM drivers with APT.

I have found APT to be a very reliable way to control my imaging sessions in the backyard. I have used a number of different cameras (with native and ASCOM drivers) with APT to capture deep-sky images. To date, I have used the APT software to control the following DSLR cameras and dedicated astronomy cameras:

  • Canon EOS Rebel T3i
  • ZWO ASI071MC Cool

SharpCap

I have used SharpCap to frame my imaging target, and to focus my telescope. SharpCap is responsive and lightweight. I can quickly connect my camera for a near live-view look at my desired area of the night sky.

This software is extremely useful when focusing as well. With a Bahtinov mask attached to the telescope, I can fine-tune the focus of my imaging area using SharpCap.

I also enjoy the Polar Alignment feature in SharpCap. Using my autoguiding camera, SharpCap will plate solve the images allowing me to align the RA Axis of my mount with the North Celestial Pole.

BackyardEOS

For several years of my deep-sky astrophotography journey, I used BackyardEOS for camera control. It has several handy features that make imaging with your Canon DSLR and telescope a more enjoyable experience.

Early on, I used the Canon capture software that came with my DSLR, EOS Utilities. This worked well for me and I was quite happy with it. A few friends of mine talked about how great BackyardEOS was, so I finally decided to upgrade.

Astronomy Image Processing Software For Mac Pro

Backyard EOS was designed for astrophotographers, and as such has numerous tools to assist you in the field. The star focus module (FWHM) and dithering compatibility with PHD2 guiding would have to be my favorite features.

I also love the interface, and the robust file-naming and description options. The company offers a 30-day trial, so give it a go for yourself.

Own a Nikon DSLR? Try BackyardNIKON.

PHD2 Guiding

Love it or hate it, PHD2 Guiding gets the job done. Unless you are blessed with a high-end astrophotography mount that doesn’t require guiding such as the Paramount MYT, you will likely need an autoguiding system to keep your stars round during a long exposure.

This application communicates with your telescope mount to “lock-on” to a guide star so that your image frames are nice and sharp. Good polar alignment will help, but autoguiding with PHD will make sure that your images are sharp during exposures of 3-minutes or more.

Related Post:5 Tips for Better PHD Guiding

Sequence Generator Pro

This software is still new to me, but I can see the potential for complete automation of my deep-sky imaging in the backyard. Once I am able to construct an observatory, I will likely control my sessions largely with Sequence Generator Pro (SGP).

I used this software in it’s most basic form during my experiences with the ZWO ASI071MC-Cool camera in March 2017. This software offers a generous 45-day, full-featured trial version.

If you’re interested in the computer I use for controlling my camera and telescope, I’ve written a detailed post about the PC I now use. There are several options available for controlling and automating your astrophotography equipment, but I prefer the convenience and practicality of a laptop computer.

ZWO ASIair

The ZWO ASIair mobile app is installed on my android smartphone and tablet. This is a camera control unit for ASI cameras such as the ASI294MC Pro one-shot-color camera and ASI290MM Mini guide camera. I enjoy the freedom and simplicity of this system as the internal Raspberry pi based computer rides along with my telescope without the need for an external imaging laptop.

The ZWO ASIair mini-computer riding along on top of my primary imaging telescope.

Image Processing Software

DeepSkyStacker

DeepSkyStacker is an amazing free program designed for astrophotography. It simplifies the pre-processing steps required to create an astrophoto by automatically registering and stacking your images into one hi-resolution file.

This is where you will submit your light frames, dark frames, bias frames, and flat frames that you captured during your imaging session. You can then bring the file it creates into Adobe Photoshop for post-processing.

I use DeepSkyStacker in its most basic form. I prefer to organize all of my best light frames in Adobe Bridge (Any RAW format photo viewer will do), and then bring those images into DSS for registering and stacking.

This basically means that it will automatically stack all of my images on top of each other, and create a high-resolution .TIF file that I can then process in Adobe Photoshop.

For a detailed tutorial on how to use DeepSkyStacker, you can download my premium image processing guide. Alternatively, you can visit the tutorials section to see DSS in action in a variety of scenarios.

Adobe Photoshop 2020

Adobe Photoshop is a very powerful and flexible program for processing all types of photographic images. The power in Photoshop lies in its ability to stretch your pixel data further. By using adjustment methods such as levels and curves, you can bring out more color and light from your deep-sky object.

There are plenty of other options when it comes to post-processing an astrophotography image (PixInsight for example) – but Photoshop will always be my personal favorite.

I have recorded several Photoshop tutorials on my YouTube channel over the past 5 years.

One of my Photoshop Image Processing Tutorials on YouTube.

Photoshop Image Processing Tutorial (Video)

Here is an image processing guide for Photoshop that will show you how to turn an unprocessed image into a final astrophoto. The Photoshop actions and plugins used in this tutorial video can be found on this page.

I have put together a premium image processing guide, sharing all of the specific techniques I use in DeepSkyStacker and Adobe Photoshop. This guide is over 100 pages long, and you can download it here.

Installing Astrophotography Plug-Ins in Photoshop

There are a variety of custom astrophotography plugins available for Adobe Photoshop. They accomplish actions in Photoshop such as noise-reduction, gradient removal, and everything in between.

To install plugins to your copy of Photoshop, you will need to drop the downloaded file into the Plug-Ins folder. The file path should be something like: Program Files > Adobe > Adobe Photoshop > Plug-Ins. This is where the 8BF files such as Gradient Xterminator will need to be placed. Once installed, the new tools will appear under the filter drop-down menu.

Adobe Bridge

This application is an extremely handy resource when organizing and previewing your astrophotography images. I use it as a key part of my current workflow. I have been using Adobe Bridge for astrophotography for several years now.

The power of Adobe Bridge is its ability to preview hundreds of raw images files at once. The metadata for each frame is displayed, giving you access to all of the important details including ISO, Exposure length, Color mode, and much more.

Adobe Bridge makes it easy to view your entire imaging session at a glance. You can quickly remove frames that include satellite trails or frames with poor tracking.

Astronomy Tools Action Set (Photoshop)

This might be the single most important purchase you will make in your adventures in astrophotography. Noel Carboni’s astronomy tools action set is a must-have for anyone processing their astronomy photos in Adobe Photoshop.

Some of the actions I regularly run when processing my images are; Enhance DSO and reduce stars, Make stars smaller, and Increase star color. My current processing workflow includes these actions. You can view my video tutorial processing the Rosette Nebula using this action set here.

It might seem strange paying for “actions” that you could probably do yourself in Photoshop. However, this plugin will save you hours and hours of experimentation with proven processing methods for astrophotography.

Gradient Xterminator

This is another “must-have” for astrophotographers that use Adobe Photoshop. The Gradient Xterminator plugin is especially handy if you capture your images under light-polluted skies. With the click of a button, you can remove horrible gradients and vignetting in your night sky images. Running the Gradient Xterminator filter is one of the first steps I take when processing any of my astrophotos.

Using the Gradient Xterminator plugin in Adobe Photoshop

HVLG (Hasta La Vista Green)

HLVG is a plug-u filter for Adobe Photoshop that does a great job of removing the green noise from your images. This plugin was designed by the legendary astrophotographer Rogelio Bernal Andreo. The idea is simple. Since there are no green objects in space (with a few exceptions of course), the green data in your deep-sky image is usually noise. I only use this filter in situations where the green noise is obvious.

StarNet++

StarNet++ is a simple program that allows you to remove the stars from your astrophotography images. It is free to download, and you can run it as a stand-alone tool. StarNet++ is an invaluable tool to have when processing your images. It allows you to quickly separate the stars from your image for more control over your image processing.

Topaz Labs DeNoise AI

Noise Reduction is a critical step of the image processing workflow. Topaz Labs DeNoise AI offers you an effective way to carefully remove noise from your images without destroying important details.

I have found this Photoshop plugin to work even better than the noise reduction tools found within Adobe Camera Raw. This filter can help restore your deep-sky or nightscape images with uneven, color noise in the darker regions. Highly recommended!

Topaz Labs DeNoise AI Noise Reduction Software.

Planning Your Imaging Session

Astronomy Tools Field of View Calculator

When deciding on your next project (or telescope purchase), it is essential that you understand the image scale of your imaging system. You’ll want to match the right camera to the right telescope to maximize the data you collect.

The Astronomy Tools Field of View (FOV) calculator lets you easily see what the image scale of your system will be. It provides a preview of your intended deep-sky or planetary target to show you exactly how big it will be with your camera sensor.

This tool will present you with the focal ratio, resolution, field of view, and Dawes limit of your imaging system.

The Astronomy Tools FOV Calculator

Stellarium (Planetarium)

This is free software you will need to install onto your computer. This is probably the most well-known free planetarium software and is straight-forward and simple to use. I also recommend the mobile app version of this software. Stellarium is fantastic because you can customize it to your observing conditions.

This includes being able to upload a custom landscape of your location! I plan on uploading a panoramic shot of my backyard in the near future to get an accurate rendition of my observation window.

You can also set options to view deep-sky objects in the same field of view as your telescope, and your camera sensor! No longer will you be surprised to find out that the object you planned on imaging is bigger than your field of view.

This goes a long way in regard to the preparation of your imaging session.

AstroBin

AstroBin is a fantastic resource for planning your next imaging target. By researching the results captured by other amateur astrophotographers, you can get a sneak peek into the performance of specific gear. If you are looking for example images using a specific telescope or camera, you can use the search function to filter the images based on that particular piece of gear.

Another way to use AstroBin is to get a better idea of how your next project may turn out. For example, you can browse images taken by others to see how large a particular galaxy will be in your telescopes field of view. The advanced equipment details and technical cards included in the Astrobin gallery will provide you with the answers you need.

A service like AstroBin is geared towards astrophotographers, so it’s likely your best choice for hosting an image gallery. The forum, big wall, and image of the day features add an element of competition and comradery to the group. This website can be an incredible source of inspiration.

“The Big Wall” on AstroBin

The idea of posting one of my images to a gallery where it will be seen by some of the best amateur astrophotographers in the world forces me to step up my game. An image that’s getting posted to Astrobin goes through a long and thorough processing treatment because I know it will be enjoyed in high resolution from corner to corner.

I gladly pay the yearly membership fee to not only build out a large archive of organized high-resolution images but support a unique and growing community of amateur astrophotographers.

Mac Astronomy and Astrophotography software

I currently collect and edit all of my astrophotography images on a PC computer, but what about Mac users?

The post-processing side of things is easy, Mac users can use Photoshop, Lightroom, PixInsight, or any other of the premium creative tools. However, there are fewer options available for the pre-processing and capturing processes.

For example, many users find themselves looking for a stacking software for the Apple Mac, because DeepSkyStacker was designed for PC’s (I suggest using Astro Pixel Processor).

Thankfully the list of astronomy software options for Mac users continues to grow. Many successful amateur astrophotographers use an all-Mac workflow from acquisition to processing.

Here are some of the most promising astronomy software options available for Mac users:

Planning and Telescope Control

Image Acquisition Software

Pre-Processing and Stacking Software

Modifying your DSLR Camera

If you’re thinking of modifying your existing DSLR camera for astrophotography, you have two options: perform the mod yourself using a tutorial, or sending the camera away to get a professional modification service performed. Unless you are very technical, and are used to taking apart small electronic devices, I would recommend option 2.

Gary Honis has put together a number of videos and tutorials explaining how to modify your DSLR camera for astrophotography. The act of modifying a DSLR camera involves removing the IR cut filter that blocks certain wavelengths of light produced by deep-sky nebulae. (Particularly the pink-red emission nebulae).

I was able to successfully modify my Canon Xsi (450D using Gary Honis’ detailed and information YouTube video.

Gary Honis is not the only expert in this field. Hap Griffin also offers this service, as well as many others.

Weather Forecasting and Sky Data

Amateur astrophotographers check the weather constantly! Clear skies are what we need to accomplish our goals, and depending on where you live, they can be hard to come by.

View my list of recommended astronomy apps for your mobile phone or tablet. These include sky maps, astronomical weather forecasting, and observation aids.

I like to use a combination of tools to get a good prediction of the weather before setting up my gear.

Weather Website Resources

I enjoy using the Clear Outside astronomy app on my Android phone. This app seems to be more accurate than the Clear Sky Chart, based on my own personal experiences. I also prefer the format of low-medium-high cloud cover as opposed to seeing and transparency.

When planning my astrophotography sessions, I use a mix of many weather resources to gauge the conditions I can expect. The app is completely free, offered by First Light Optics.

I hope that you have found these astrophotography resources helpful in your quest to improve your images. It took me years to build this library of software that I use for each and every photo I capture.

If you would like to see some of this software in action, have a look at my image-processing tutorials.

The line is becoming blurred between DSLR and Mirrorless digital cameras such as those by Sony, Nikon and Canon, and CMOS sensors used in dedicated astronomical cameras such as those by ZWO and QHY.

There are many different types of software that may help you astrophotography:

  • Camera Control
  • Software-Assisted Focusing
  • Image Acquisition Automation
  • Plate Solving
  • Image Calibration, Aligning and Stacking
  • Image Correction and Enhancement
  • Autoguiding Software
  • Photo Utilities
  • Photoshop Filters and Actions
  • Tutorials on Image Processing of Astrophotos
  • Planetarium Programs and Atlases

DSLR Camera Control

With camera control software, you can use your computer to control all of the functions and settings of your camera, such as setting the ISO, opening the shutter, and shooting multiple frames for stacking.

With the current generation of Canon EOS DSLR cameras software by the camera manufacturer will control all functions of the camera. This is accomplished through a single USB-2 Cable and includes control of the bulb setting for exposures longer than 30 seconds. This software also allows viewing of the Live-view real-time image on the computer and focusing.

With previous camera generations of Canon DSLRs and Nikon DSLR cameras, the camera manufacturer's software could control all camera functions except one critical one for astrophotography: the ability to shoot exposures longer than 30 seconds with the bulb setting. This major drawback necessitated the use of third-party software to control the camera and access bulb exposures longer than 30 seconds through the use of a serial to bulb port cable. For old cameras, two cables were necessary for astrophotography: one USB cable to control camera functions and one serial to bulb port cable for long exposures.


Software-Assisted Focusing

The latest generation cameras allow focusing through the camera manufacturer's software. This can be done by manual focusing and visual inspection of the Live-view image on the computer, or by autofocus if the camera is shooting through an autofocus lens.

For previous generation cameras without Live-View, an image had to be downloaded to the computer and then visually examined for focus accuracy. Programs will download an image and then examine a star and give a readout of the star's diameter or brightness. This metric-assisted focusing is objective and did not rely on any visual interpretation to determine focus.

Through a process of manual trial and error, accurate focus could be achieved through software-assisted focusing.

The latest DSLR camera manufacturer's software can make focusing very easy with Live-view, and some, like BackYardEOS, BackYardNIKON and AstroPhotography Tool use metric-assisted focusing for astrophotography.

If you have a mototized focuser, you can use software-assisted focusing to autofocus your telescope.


Image Acquisition Automation

Serious deep-sky astrophotography requires shooting many short exposures. This can be done manually, but it is very tedious. For example, faint deep-sky objects may require several hours worth of 5 minute exposures that are later stacked or combined in subsequent image processing.

Software such as Images Plus or MaxDSLR can automate this process. You simply specify in the software that you want the camera to shoot, say, 25 exposures of 5 minutes each at ISO 1600 with a pause of 10 seconds between frames (to give the system time to download each image).

The latest software provided by Nikon and Canon also provides the functionality for this type of automated image acquisition with the latest generation of DSLR cameras.


Plate Solving

There are several free pieces of software that will take an image (a short exposure) and 'plate solve' it for you. That means it examines patterns of stars in the image to determine the exact center of the field of view of your camera and scope. Once this is determined, the software can send these coordinates to your mount so the mount knows exactly where it is pointing to improve accuracy of GoTo's.

Plate solving is also useful if you shoot the same object over several nights. You can then solve an image from the first night, and store it. Then the next time out, you can just use that solve to frame your object for that night.


Image Calibration, Aligning and Stacking

Advanced astronomical imaging requires the 'calibration' of the raw original images. Calibration means removing unwanted fixed signals (such as thermal current and bias), and correction for signal modifications (such as vignetting) so that the raw image accurately represents the intensity of light incident on the sensor during the exposure. We will discuss these topics in detail in future sections, but right now lets just talk briefly about the software required for image calibration.

Both Canon and Nikon usually include image processing software with their cameras, but this software is for processing normal daytime images. You can not use it for image calibration, aligning, or stacking at all.

To calibrate your original raw astronomical images, you will require some type of special astronomical image processing software, such as Images Plus, MaxDSLR, AIP (Astronomical Image Processing), AstroArt, IRIS, Deepsky Stacker or Regim.

'Stacking' means combining many individual short exposures into a master image by any of several mathematical processes such as averaging, or addition. The term originates in the days of film astrophotography where images were literally stacked on top of one another to improve contrast and color.

You will also need to align your images so that the stars in them line up perfectly.

Whatever software you use for image calibration will almost certainly also do aligning and image stacking. It is possible to align and stack images in Photoshop, but for more than a couple of frames, the process is extremely tedious and not as accurate as with a dedicated astronomical image processing program.


Image Correction and Enhancement

Once your images are calibrated, aligned and stacked, you will want to correct for things such as color balance, and increase the contrast to make faint details more visible. You will probably also want to apply some type of noise reduction, and you may want to apply more sophisticated enhancement techniques.

These processes can be done in the previously mentioned astronomical image processing programs such as Images Plus, MaxDSLR, AIP (Astronomical Image Processing), AstroArt, and IRIS.

Astronomy Image Processing Software For Mac Free

However, at this stage of image processing, many astrophotographers prefer to switch to a general image processing program such as Photoshop.


Autoguiding Software

For long-exposure deep-sky astrophotography, guiding during the exposure can be very useful in producing higher quality images. By manually or automatically following a star by making corrections in right ascension and declination higher tracking accuracy is obtained.

Autoguiding involves using a separate CCD or Webcam to monitor a stars position and then send corrections to the telescope's mounting to guide or follow the star with high accuracy to compensate for inaccuracies in the mount's tracking.

SBIG used to make the ST-4 and ST-V which were stand alone autoguiders which did not require a computer. These units have been discontinued but can be found used on Astromart.

CCD cameras and webcams can be also be used as autoguiders, but software, such as GuideDog and PHD, is required to run on a computer that interfaces between the autoguider and mount.


Photo Utilities

These programs perform useful functions like allowing you to open FITS format files, perform noise reduction, and create thumbnails for indexing and archiving.


Photoshop Filters and Actions

These filters and actions work inside of Photoshop and perform specialty functions for astronomy, such as gradient and noise reduction.


Tutorials on Image Processing of Astrophotos

Tutorials in book and video format teach you how to do astrophotography, and use programs such as Images Plus for image calibration and Photoshop for image correction and enhancement.


Planetarium Programs and Atlases

Planetarium programs and atlases let you find out what is up in the sky, and plan your observing and astrophotography session.


Astronomical Software For the PC

  • DSLR Camera Control

    • IRIS $Free - DSLR control, image acquisition automation
    • PalmDSLR $Free - DSLR control with a Palm computer
    • APT (Astro Photography Tool) - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation
    • BackyardEOS Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, drift alignment assist
    • BackyardNIKON Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, drift alignment assist
    • Nebulosity Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
    • Images Plus Camera Control DSLR control, focusing, image acquisition automation
    • AstroArt DSLR and CCD control and image processing
    • Maxim DL DSLR control and image processing
  • Software-Assisted Focusing

    • Focus Max $Free - Focusing software that automates focusing if you have a motorized focuser that works with Maxim DL or CCD Soft
    • APT (Astro Photography Tool) - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation
    • BackyardEOS Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, drift alignment assist
    • Nebulosity Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
    • Images Plus Camera Control DSLR control, focusing, image acquisition automation
    • AstroArt DSLR and CCD control and image processing
    • Maxim DSLR DSLR control and image processing
  • Image Acquisition Automation

    • DSLR Shutter $Free - image acquisition automation
    • APT (Astro Photography Tool) - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation
    • BackyardEOS - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, drift alignment assist
    • Nebulosity - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
    • Images Plus Camera Control - DSLR control, focusing, image acquisition automation
    • AstroArt - DSLR and CCD control and image processing
    • Maxim DSLR - DSLR control and image processing
  • Plate Solving

  • Image Calibration, Aligning and Stacking

    • Deepsky Stacker $Free - Image calibration, alignment, stacking
    • Regim $Free - Image calibration, alignment, stacking
    • IRIS $Free - DSLR control, image acquisition automation
    • RegiStax $Free - for stacking planetary images shot with webcams
    • Nebulosity - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
    • AIP (Astronomical Image Processing) - Image calibration, correction, enhancement
    • Images Plus - Image calibration, correction, enhancement
    • AstroArt - DSLR and CCD control and image processing
    • PixInsight - Image calibration, correction, enhancement
    • Maxim DSLR - DSLR control and image processing
  • Image Correction and Enhancement

    • IRIS $Free
    • GIMPshop $Free
  • Autoguiding Software

    • GuideDog $Free
    • PHD (Push Here Dummy) $Free
    • Metaguide $Free
    • Guidemaster $Free
  • Photo Utilities

    • Dark Library $Free - Sort Dark frames by EXIF temperature data
    • EXIF Reader $Free - Reads EXIF data, such as shutter speed, ISO, aperture, date and time of photo that is stored in the image file. Also a thumbnail and image viewer
    • FITS Liberator $Free - FITS file format image handling software
    • Noiseware Community Edition $Free - Noise Reduction software
    • Background Subtraction Toolkit $Free - Remove gradients and vignetting
    • IrfanView $Free - Image viewer
    • Picassa $Free - Thumbnail and Image Viewer and database
    • ThumbsPlus $90 - Thumbnail viewer and database
    • StarTrails - $Free - Stack individual frames to creat a star-trail image
    • StarStax $Free - Stack individual frames to creat a star-trail image
    • StarMax $Free - Stack individual frames to creat a star-trail image
  • Photoshop Filters and Actions

    • Astronomy Tools - Noel Carboni's Photoshop actions for various astrophoto techniques
    • Annie's Astro Actions - Astrophotography specific Photoshop actions
    • Noise Ninja - Noise Reduction filter
    • GradientXTerminator - Removes vignetting and gradients
  • Tutorials on Image Processing of Astrophotos

    • PixInsight Tutorials $Free
    • Photoshop for Astrophotographers $25 (Download version)
    • A Guide to Astrophotography with Digital SLR Cameras $40 (Book on CD-ROM)
    • P4AP Warren Keller
    • EZ-CCD-DVD - Tony Hallas Video Tutorials on DVD
  • Planetarium Programs and Atlases

    • Stellarium $Free
    • Cartes du Ciel $Free
    • Virtual Moon Atlas $Free

Astronomical Software For the Mac

  • DSLR Camera Control and Focusing

    • DSLR Shutter $Free - image acquisition automation
    • Nebulosity - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
    • Astrophoto $Free - Digital camera focus and control software for Canon astrophotography using Macintosh OS X
    • Astro IIDC - primarily for planetary imaging
  • Astronomical Image Processing Programs

    • Keith's Image Stacker - For stacking planetary images
    • Lykenos $Free - Planetary image stacking and processing
    • Astrostack - Image stacking and processing
    • Nebulosity - Camera control, focus, image acquisition automation, image calibration, image processing
  • General Image Processing Programs

    • GIMPshop $Free
  • Photo Utilities

    • FITS Liberator $Free - FITS file format image handling software
    • Photo Bundled with New Macs, or available as part of iLife ) - image viewer, database, and image editing
    • StarStax $Free - Stack individual frames for a star trail image
  • Photoshop Filters and Actions

    • Astronomy Tools - Noel Carboni's Photoshop actions for various astrophoto techniques
    • Annie's Astro Actions - Astrophotography specific Photoshop actions
    • Noise Ninja $80 Noise Reduction filter
  • Tutorials on Image Processing of Astrophotos

    • Photoshop for Astrophotographers $25 (download)
    • A Guide to Astrophotography with Digital SLR Cameras $40 (Book on CD-ROM)
  • Planetarium Programs, Atlases, Etc.

    • Stellarium $Free - Desktop planetarium and space simulation
    • Celestia $Free - Desktop planetarium and space simulation
    • AstroPlanner - Planning, logging, telescope control
    • Equinox6 - Desktop planetarium, telescope, webcam and focuser control
    • AstroImage Browser - Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) front end, astrophotography planning, and ability to overlay your own images on DSS images for comparison
    • The SkyX - Desktop Planetarium
    • Starry Night - Desktop planetarium

Astronomical Software For Linux


Prices on all commercial software are subject to change without notice.

Note that you should be able to run any of the Windows programs listed above on your Mac with OS-X and software like Parallels or VMware Fusion.

Midnightkite also has a nice collection of links to lots of other astronomical related software for a variety of operating systems.


Software That I Use

  • Planning

  • Weather Evaluation

  • Polar Aligning

  • Plate Solving and Target Acquisition
    • AstroPhotography Tool with
      • Astrometric STAcking Program (ASTAP) and

  • Software-Assisted Focusing

  • Camera Control
    • BackYardEOS or

  • Autoguiding Software

  • Image Acquisition Automation
    • BackYardEOS or

  • Image Calibration, Aligning and Stacking

  • Image Correction and Enhancement

  • Photoshop Filters and Actions

Astrophotography How-To Books by Jerry Lodriguss

If you like the information you have read here, I have several books that you may find of interest.

If you think there is a lot of information here on these web pages, just wait until you see how much more there is in these books!

Beginner's Guide to DSLR Astrophotography

This HTML book for beginning astrophotographers explains how to take beautiful images with your digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera using simple step-by-step techniques that anyone can learn.

You will see how easy it is to take great pictures with very modest equipment and basic methods that are within everyone's ability.

With this book you will learn how to take amazing images of the night sky with your DSLR camera.

Get Started in DSLR Astrophotography Today!



Processing

Beginner's Guide to Astronomical Image Processing

This book written in HTML5 is a digital download. It is for beginning astrophotographers and explains in step-by-step detail how to stack your images in DeepSkyStacker and then process them in Photoshop.

You will learn how to improve the brightness, contrast and color of your deep-sky images to produce beautiful results.

The book also includes 25 video tutorials on each step of image processing.

Get started in Astronomical image processing today!



Advanced Guide to DSLR Astrophotography

Astronomy Stacking Software For Mac

This HTML book for more advanced imagers. It explains how digital cameras work in more technical detail and gives step-by-step directions for more advanced imaging techniques.

It also tells you on how to process your images in Photoshop, with step-by-step directions that will produce beautiful results.

The CD-ROM also includes more than 100 minutes of video tutorials on image processing.

Take your astrophotography to the next level!



A Guide to DSLR Planetary Imaging

This HTML book will show you how to take planetary images with your Live-View equipped DSLR. It explains the basics of high-resolution planetary imaging and gives step-by-step directions on how to shoot exciting pictures the Sun and Moon and fascinating planets like Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

It also tells you on how to process your images in programs like RegiStax and AutoStakkert!, with step-by-step directions that will produce beautiful results.

The CD-ROM also includes more than 100 minutes of video tutorials on image processing.

Get started with planetary photography with your DSLR today!



Astrophotographer's Guide to the Deep Sky

This HTML book will help you answer the question 'what should I shoot tonight?'

It will provide you with detailed information and examples of the many beautiful objects in the deep sky that you can photograph with your own equipment.

A master list of objects includes 500 of the best and most photogenic galaxies, nebulae, supernovae remnants, stars, star clusters and constellations. This list can be sorted by object name, object type, catalog number, constellation, right ascension and focal length.

Images of more than 275 select objects visible from the northern hemisphere are displayed on individual pages with photographic information and details about these objects.

All-sky constellation charts are clickable with links to individual constellation images. These, in turn, have objects plotted on them that link to object pages.

A local sidereal time calculator will tell you when objects are on the meridian where they are highest in the sky and best placed for photography.

Discover the many fantastic targets in the deep sky!



Photoshop for Film Astrophotographers

This HTML book is a guide to basic digital correction and advanced enhancement techniques for film astrophotos in Adobe Photoshop image-processing software.

Whether you are a beginning amateur astrophotographer, or a seasoned veteran, you will learn new and exciting techniques.

Use Photoshop to produce visually stunning images!



These books will help you to avoid those bad practices that lead to poor images. I made just about every mistake you could make when I was first starting out and did not know what I was doing. You don't have to make these same mistakes. You too can learn the secrets of deep-sky astrophotography!

Don't waste your long and hard efforts at astrophotography - find out how thousands of others just like you have gotten excellent results by using these books.

You can do it too! What are you waiting for?