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Astrophotography Software and Techniques

This page will hopefully have more information on it in the future.

I have written a handful of programs to aid my astrophotography efforts. The first program, Keith's Image Stacker, is a postprocessing program for bringing in a quicktime movie or a series of separate images, which can then be stacked and adjusted in a variety of ways. Image stacking is the single most important technique in astrophotography.

The second program, Keith's Video Integrater, which is out of date, performed a couple of different tasks. It could be used to sum short images on the fly, or it can be used to capture long exposure images from the modified webcam. Of course, it can also be used to capture darkframes for subsequent subtraction from captured images. It didn't have any way to automatically control long exposures however, so I had to use physical switches to control the camera, which I would manually toggle on and off.

The third program, Keith's AstroImager SV203 was a replacement for Keith's Video Integrater. I gutted the realtime video integration because I didn't find it to be very useful, but otherwise rewrote the image capture program from the ground up to clean up the code and introduced serial port routines for controlling a long exposure modified camera through the Pontech SV203 servo controller. You can read a little about how that works in the section where I describe the camera mod.

Finally, Keith's AstroImager matured into a product worthy of public distribution. I removed the Pontech SV203 code since it isn't useful for anyone but myself, and added a number of features that are useful for general astrophotography. Please give it a try and let me know if you find it useful.

Other programs I use include BTV View 4.0 ToUcam, and Adobe Photoshop.

I have written a thorough explanation of how image stacking works, for people who are still confused about this virtually magical process of producing clean beautiful images from dirty ugly original images.

I have written a thorough explanation of how unsharp masking and Laplacian sharpening work. You might find it interesting.

Many people have asked me how to use a modded webcam with a Mac. Here's the answer.